Editor’s voice: September – digital focus and the birth of #pharmapigeons

Rebecca Aris


pharmaphorum’s Managing Editor, Rebecca Aris shares content highlights from September, the digitally-themed month, which saw the birth of the hashtag #pharmapigeons.

You may well wonder, and quite rightly so, what all the fuss about pigeons has been and so I shall explain.


Our content in September was themed on the topic of digital. We featured a multitude of articles and interviews in this space (21 in total). One such piece was our interview with Benjamin Tilly of Sanofi. On demonstrating the wide range of channels available and how your must select your channel based on where you audience are he uttered a fantastic quote:-

“It’s really important to approach any research without preconceptions. Be open minded. If your target audience prefer to engage with you via carrier pigeon or telepathy then that’s where you must pool you resources.”

Benjamin Tilly, Sanofi

We decided to share Benjamin’s advice and with his help started the hashtag #pharmapigeons (thanks to @SanofiUS for sharing). So please follow suit and share Benjamin’s message and get this hashtag trending!


“…please follow suit and share Benjamin’s message and get this hashtag trending!”


But it hasn’t all been pigeons. Other digital nuggets have been shared, one in the form of advice on HTML5 from Jamie Manning. Did you know that HTML5 is a ‘verifiable game changer for multi-channel marketing’? Or that ‘marketers need to engage with their agencies or internal teams and ensure that they are well versed in HTML5’? Read Jamie’s interview to find out more on this topic and you may also find the article ‘10 Useful Infographics about HTML5’ from Six Revisions helpful.


September also saw a view of gamifying pharma by Andy Stafford of Nitro Digital. Andy believes in the potential of gamification:-

“…the pharma industry will benefit massively by incorporating ‘gamification’ into its digital strategies.”

Andy Stafford, Nitro Digital

Andy speculates on what gamification will look like in the future and asks the questions – ‘Can gamification improve disease management?’ He then goes on to query whether gamification could benefit the KOL space, certainly offering us food for thought.


“Did you know that HTML5 is a ‘verifiable game changer for multi-channel marketing’?”


We also saw the launch of Syrum this month, the pharma Facebook game, created by Boehringer Ingelheim. Prior to the launch, Daniel Ghinn published his views on and expectations of the game, in his regular ‘Pharma gets social’ article. In his piece he quotes some impressive facts, such as:-

“…Google lists over 50,000 results for “Boehringer Ingelheim Syrum”. That’s impressive for a game that has yet to be launched.”

Daniel Ghinn, Creation Healthcare

The game was launched (as a beta version) on 13th September. pharmaphorum’s Paul Tunnah attended the launch and covered this event and the game itself in his September’s ‘Tunnah’s musings’ article entitled ‘Syrum – saving the world or saving pharma?’. In his article, Paul points out that Syrum could go in any number of directions from here and that different versions may be launched in the future. But above all he suggests you check it out for yourself to see what all the buzz is about. I’ll certainly be watching (and playing) with interest to see where the game goes from here.

And while Boehringer were launching Syrum, AstraZeneca were busy launching a digital initiative of their own – LabTalk. LabTalk is a science-focused blog where the audience can hear from scientists, researchers and academics discussing novel ideas, research and innovation. We’re particularly pleased to see our name in the ‘Our reading list’ section. Thank you AstraZeneca!

Social media jedi

Another welcome addition to pharmaphorum’s digital month was our interview with the ‘social media jedi’ himself, Clive Roach of Philips Healthcare.

Clive shared with us his thoughts on which emerging digital channels he thinks are here to stay and the ones he uses the most in his day-to-day life. He also highlighted the importance of SoLoMo (Social, Local, and Mobile). Clive can be found on his own blog, his three Twitter accounts and his two Facebook fan pages among others, so he’s no stranger to the area. His interview is certainly worth a view for those who want the low-down on emerging channels.


“We also saw the launch of Syrum this month, the pharma Facebook game, created by Boehringer Ingelheim.”

A brief history of digital in pharma

On another digital note, thanks to our September sponsors, ‘DigitalOnDrugs’. If you haven’t yet watched their ‘A brief history of digital in pharma’ video, I’d recommend that you do so here.

DigitalOnDrugs is an online video resource / channel, which will be providing overviews of topics within the pharma digital space. The video mentioned above is the first episode and looks at where we have come from, how technologies have been adopted and what the future may look like.

The service will be providing information to help pharma marketers to understand the challenges and opportunities in this space.

More September highlights

Other content of note this month were, our look at digital use in India, an interview with Robert Istepanian – who coined the term m-health, a look at holographic presentations and an interview with George Lundberg in our ‘Media perspectives’ series. George shares his experience of working with pathologists involved in the autopsy of John F Kennedy to report the real story.

What’s to come?

DigiPharm was, of course, this month, represented by Hannah Blake and myself from pharmaphorum. It was great to see so many of you there. For those that didn’t attend, the tweet stream provides some lively snippets.

As we were able to attend both DigiPharm and the Pharma Marketing Show Europe 2012 (held in the same venue) we will be providing write-ups of both events so you can expect to see those soon.

In addition, October will see a focus on personalized medicine on pharmaphorum. We’ll be publishing lots of articles and interviews in this area so do keep an eye out if this is your area of interest.

Other news

And finally, we are delighted to announce the birth, this month, of Jack Tunnah, first child to our Managing Director, Paul Tunnah. Welcome to the world Jack!

Until next month, keep reading and sharing – and don’t be afraid to get in touch!



About the author:

Rebecca Aris is Managing Editor of pharmaphorum, the primary facilitator of thought leadership and innovation for the pharmaceutical industry featuring news, articles, events / company listings and online discussion.

Rebecca was the first full time employee to join pharmaphorum, starting in her current role in mid-2010, and is responsible for coordinating all editorial content on the site. Prior to working at pharmaphorum she was a medical writer at a healthcare PR agency. In addition, she spent three years working as a commissioning editor on three journal titles at a biomedical publishing company. Rebecca holds a BSc (Hons) in pharmaceutical science.

For queries she can be reached through the site contact form or via Twitter @Rebecca_Aris.

What was your favourite digital piece?