PM Awards drops ‘advertising’ in shift towards marketing excellence

The PM Awards, one of the key events in the UK pharmaceutical industry’s calendar, has signalled a shift away from advertising to marketing excellence at its latest awards event.

The PM Society launched its Advertising Awards 29 years ago, at the height of an advertising-led boom in pharmaceutical marketing in the 1980s. But the industry, and the way it communicates with its customers and stakeholders has changed enormously over the period, and the not-for-profit PM Society says the new emphasis reflects its own wider goals of promoting marketing excellence through events and training.

The change is reflected in the awards themselves, with only nine of the 19 categories awarding advertising, with several new categories introduced, including corporate communications and events and exhibitions.

A second significant change introduced this year was the integration of digital awards into the mainstream – reflecting a wider trend in the sector, where digital projects are no longer novelties which are set apart from other marketing efforts.

These campaigns were judged alongside traditional media according to the same strict criteria around concept, design, use of craft and impact.

Neil Smith, chairman of the PM Society Awards commented: “The key to marketing excellence lies in the underlying principles of creativity, execution or the use of the appropriate craft, and impact. These are attributes that can be compared equally, whatever the medium or campaign audience.”

He added: “It was encouraging this year to see the number of digital entries being judged alongside traditional print media and to welcome some ‘first timers’ to the Awards, now that the categories have opened out to include a broader range of today’s marketing activities.”

Other firsts, ensuring that the PM Awards mirror the campaigns coming out of UK-based organisations, were the acceptance of internationally-targeted work and the introduction of separate awards for agency in-house promotion, awards for disease awareness and patient support.


The awards, held on Friday at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel attracted around 1000 people from industry and agencies, and saw Mundipharma scoop 10 awards – three of them Gold – marking it out as the most successful pharma company for 2014. Mundipharma is a medium-sized pharma company which specialises in pain medications, and won awards for advertising across a variety of formats.

Fresenius Kabi were close rivals, also taking three Golds, while Shire Pharmaceuticals scored for highest overall number of awards, securing one for each of their 11 entries.

Other Gold winning pharma companies were AbbVie, Bayer Healthcare, GSK, Internis, Napp, Takeda UK and Vertex.

On the agency side after joint leaders Havas Life Medicom and VCCP Health, HAVAS LYNX took home two Golds. Other Gold Award winners were Hanson Zandi, Big Pink, Woolley Pau Gyro, McCann Manchester, Fleishman Hillard, nitrogen, Digitas Health, Life, Ten Alps Communicate, Learner Adams Bones and Bedgebury Communications.

For success across the board among the agencies, VCCP Health topped the chart with a total of 10 awards, (three Gold, four Silver and three Bronze). Havas Life Medicom, HAVAS LYNX and McCann Manchester each won six awards and bmore creative five for their Gaucher Disease press campaign, which scored highly with both Target and Craft judges.


Geoff Brook Innovation Award

Ten Alps Commuicate, winners of this year’s Geoff Brook Innovation Award

A longstanding centrepiece of the awards has been the Geoff Brook Innovation Award, and this year the winners were Ten Alps Communicate, for their multi-media educational toolkit for Sanofi Pasteur MSD’s Gardasil. The Wise Up campaign ( was developed to support teachers, healthcare professionals and youth educators to talk to young people about vaccination and sexual health.

Full list of category Gold winners:

o Craft Award for Direct Mail Hanson Zandi for Internis

o Craft Award for Sales Aid HAVAS LYNX for AbbVie

o Craft Award for Film VCCP Health for Mundipharma

o Craft Award for Digital Interactive Big Pink for GlaxoSmithKline

o Craft Award for Animation Woolley Pau Gyro for Napp

o Craft Award for Events and Exhibitions VCCP Health for Mundipharma

o Target Award for Direct Mail McCann Manchester for Shire

o Craft Award for Disease Awareness FleishmanHillard for Bayer Healthcare

o Craft Award for Patient Support nitrogen for Vertex

o Primary Care Campaign Havas Life Medicom for Fresenius Kabi

o Secondary Care Campaign Digitas Health for Sanofi

o Target Award for House Promotion Life

o Target Award for Corporate Communications HAVAS LYNX for Sanofi

o Geoff Brook Innovation Award Ten Alps Communicate for Sanofi Pasteur MSD

o Craft Award for Advertisement Campaign Havas Life Medicom for Fresenius Kabi

o Craft Award for Secondary Care Ad VCCP Health for Mundipharma

o Craft Award for Primary Care Ad Havas Life Medicom for Fresenius Kabi

o Target Award for Secondary Care Ad Learner Adams Bones for Takeda UK

o Target Award for Primary Care Ad Bedgebury Communications for Sanofi Pasteur MSD

Click here to see the full PM Society awards 2014 results

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