While awards programs that recognize creative healthcare-related advertisements or public awareness campaigns usually are won by agencies that represent large pharmaceutical companies or international health organizations, marketing campaigns that support clinical trial activities have begun to win these prizes, too.
Both the CLIO Healthcare Awards and the Rx Club awards have categories that accept entries for marketing campaigns—aimed at either patients or clinical research managers—that focused on areas such as patient recruitment or clinical trial technologies.
During the 2010 awards season, for example, CRF Health won awards from both CLIO and Rx Club for an ad campaign, created by U.K.-based Langland advertising, promoting its electronic patient reported outcomes (ePRO) technology. The “No One Gets You Closer” campaign, aimed at healthcare professionals involved in clinical trials, used humorous vignettes to suggest CRF’s ability to close the gap between patients and clinical trial professionals.
A patient recruitment poster Langland designed for global CRO ICON also received an Rx Club award of excellence in 2010; it used an image of a burping man to advertise a clinical research study for a gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) medication. Also receiving awards of excellence from the Rx Club in the patient-recruitment niche was Texas-based qd Solutions, an advertising agency focused exclusively on patient recruitment and retention for clinical trials. qd Solutions won for two patient recruitment posters—one advertising a clinical trial for an investigational rheumatoid arthritis drug for CRO Kendle, and the other recruiting patients with angina and type II diabetes to a clinical study by CRO PPD.
Although there are myriad award programs for both the advertising industry and the healthcare marketing industry, the CLIO Healthcare Awards and the Rx Club awards both were formed to recognize creativity in healthcare marketing. The Rx Club award was founded in 1986 by Ina and Carveth Kramer after the couple realized the healthcare marketing industry lacked an award show that focused on creativity, rather than success of the ad or product. Meanwhile, the CLIO Healthcare Award, an extension of the CLIO Awards, one of the world’s most recognized advertising competitions, established its program in 2009 to allow pharmaceutical and healthcare advertising campaigns, which must follow stringent regulatory constraints, to be judged in a competition separate fromits traditional advertising awards.
Government regulations concerning healthcare advertising and communications, including the requirement to list the side effects of prescription drugs mentioned in ads, make it nearly impossible for drug company ad campaigns to win regular advertising industry awards. “We wanted to level the playing field,” said CLIO Healthcare Awards Director Karl Vontz. “It’s hard for healthcare ads to be topical, funny, hip and trendy like the consumer ads can be. It’s like trying to sell tennis shoes when it requires insurance to get the shoes, somebody to prescribe the shoes, and then you have to reveal that these shoes may make your toenails fall off and have other bad side effects. Suddenly it’s not so easy.”
Both the CLIO Healthcare and Rx Club awards are judged in various categories by industry experts and are based solely on creativity. Both award programs have categories for a range of media, including posters, direct mail, print, television, radio, digital and interactive advertising. Ad campaigns directed to either professionals or consumers can be submitted.
The highest awards in both programs are generally given to agencies representing major pharmaceutical companies or international health organizations; some winners are major healthcare companies that have their own marketing departments. In 2010, the top CLIO Healthcare Awards went to Shalmore Avnon Amichay/Y&R Interactive Tel Aviv for its “SDIA Project” campaign for the AIDS Task Force, Scholz & Friends Hamburg’s radio ad for Doppelherz Calming Tablets, and Sweden-based Prime’s swine flu awareness campaign for the Stockholm County Council.
The Rx Club awarded 11 gold winners in print, video, integrated and interactive work in 2010, including GSW Worldwide for an ad for Dyax, ICC for its Food Bank of New Jersey poster, Intouch Solutions for educational materials created for Abbott Laboratories; Langland for work produced for Napp and Bayer Healthcare, McCann Healthcare Australia for a Pfizer ad about Alzheimer’s screening, Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness for an AstraZeneca campaign for Seroquel XR and TBWAPaling Walters for work for Boehringer Ingelheim.
Both the CLIO Healthcare Awards and the Rx Club awards have categories representing a broad array of organizations, including hospitals, healthcare plans and companies in the clinical trials industry. “We encourage everyone to enter,” said Vontz. “Entries can come from anybody who wants to have his creative work measured against other work in that category.”