From visit to experience to memories: how innovation is transforming the medical visit

Gustavo Pratt

asterisco healthcare communications

Gustavo Pratt discusses why the sales rep should be more creative and innovative during medical visits to physicians.

Welcome to your first pharma interactive article!

I will need you to really focus on the questions you are going to be asked and really think before you answer, ok?

Let´s start!

• Do you remember what you ate for lunch last Thursday?

• Do you remember the song that was playing in your iPod before you arrived at your office or the last one you heard at the gym?

• Do you recall the movie that you saw two months ago?

You don’t remember, right?

The memories are cloudy and even if you try, you don’t recall anything. Do you know why? It is very simple, because there are no emotions attached to those moments. They were simply moments that pass you by, there was nothing special about that Thursday lunch or that song or movie.


“The things that really impact us are the ones that are charged with emotions.”


Moments get impregnated in our mind (and become memories) when there is an emotion attached to it. It can be a beautiful emotion or something so powerful that resonates forever. Let’s play again…ok?

• Do you remember what you ate at Thanksgiving?

• Do you remember the first morning coffee that you had today?

• Do you remember the taste of that great wine you enjoyed and with whom you enjoyed it?

I can see in your eyes and I know you remember!

Great! Emotions are attached to a very special dinner, like Thanksgiving or Christmas, you remember the smell of the turkey, pumpkin pie or cranberry jam. You remember the smell and the first sip of your morning coffee, the feeling of waking up and opening your eyes as the coffee aroma and flavour take over your senses…and that amazing wine from Tuscany that you enjoyed in your favorite restaurant with your wife on your last birthday. Those special moments become memories that you treasure forever. And it is the same with everything that we do every single day. The things that really impact us are the ones that are charged with emotions.

And the great and challenging thing is that pharma advertising works the same way. When we go for a medical visit we have the opportunity to be in front of a physician and really create a story full of emotions…emotions that will connect with the doctor in a certain way, through the story or materials we are presenting. Today is not about the idea that is shown in the cover of the sales aid, today is about the story behind the people with a certain disease and how our drugs change their lives and that we make a different (and surprising visit!!) each and every time we are in front of the physician. On a regular basis, we will be with the same doctor approximately 12 times a year.

We can develop 12 different experiences (please note that it doesn’t says materials!) that will try to connect with the doctor. We can use a simple napkin or an amazing video on the iPad…


“…are you willing to change your sales rep visits to be more innovative and to emotionally connect with your doctors?”


As human beings we love to be surprised, we love to try new things and we love innovations. So do Doctors! They are also human beings.

So if we create 12 different moments, 12 different experiences for a year of visits, we will not only be changing the relationship with our physicians, but we will be the ones that can inspire them to create and innovate in their routine world of patients. As patients, we can really be that mouthful of fresh air instead of the boring sales rep visit… so here’s another question: are you willing to change your sales rep visits to be more innovative and to emotionally connect with your doctors?

Here are five innovative tips to bring emotion into your visits:

1) The human-doctor: Think of the doctor as a human being that loves to be surprised and experience emotions. So every time you are in front of a physician think about the emotion you want to plant in their minds so a memory can grow in their hearts.

2) Don’t be evolutionary, be revolutionary! By being disruptive, we let the ideas loose and can easily imprint the mind and heart of the physicians with our ideas.

3) Emotions become memories: Remember what we talked about. Real emotions go directly to the heart, and if we reach the heart our message will become a memory. You are not looking for prescriptions, we are looking for great memories in the doctor´s mind. If we accomplish that, the prescriptions will come…


“Innovation today is the currency of success in the pharma environment.”


4) Don’t think about materials, think about the emotions you want to generate: Don’t think about just getting a sales aids, or an iPad app, or scientific folders posters, or leave behinds. Think about the emotion you want to generate in 12 different visits with that same doctor. Don’t think about one sales aid, think about having 12 experiences that can really amaze and generate an emotion to your brand.

5) I-N-N-O-V-A-T-E. You know how advertising agencies always talk about the voice of the brand, right? Well if your brand has a voice make sure you repeat this word over and over again, as a mantra! Innovate, innovate, innovate in every single visit you have. Innovation today is the currency of success in the pharma environment. It is not the iPad, it is the idea behind what you are showing on the iPad.

So, you have read your first pharma interactive article…

I’m sure that it will trigger a lot of ideas that will become emotions and experiences in your sales visits, that will in turn become your doctors’ memories, which will in turn become prescriptions for your brand, and that will finally become success stories for patients.

Keep the ideas and experiences coming… all the pharma brands need them.


About the author:

“Innovation distinguishes a leader from a follower.”

Gustavo Pratt has always been on the quest of innovation, change and challenge in the status quo of pharma advertising. His story is very rich and solid in both the creative and strategic environments. He started his career in advertising at BBDO Mexico where he worked on the Pepsi, Gamesa and FedEx accounts. After that, he joined Ammirati Puris Lintas and was in charge of accounts like GE, Nestlé chocolates, Tetra Pak, and Bayer. Later he worked for Bancomer, Sonrics candy, Janssen-Cilag, Volkswagen and McDonald’s at DDB. At Saatchi &amp, Saatchi, he launched SKY Satellite TV in Mexico. Finally, he worked for Young &amp, Rubicam as Creative Director for AT&amp,T and AT&amp,T Latam, Danone and Phillip Morris. Then he ventured as a partner in CMV Advertising (small creative boutique that later turn into a full agency) where he worked for Bally Total Fitness Gyms, Starbucks, Royal &amp, SunAlliance, Reebok, Xerox and Pfizer (Viagra, Detrol, Dostinex &amp, Norvasc). And there a relationship started with GSW to handle the Lilly accounts for Diabetes and CNS, that earns the agency the recognition in the marketplace and sets the course of becoming a full healthcare ad agency.

After participating in three Global Creative Exercises for GSW, Gustavo was “abducted” by GSW to become the VP International Creative Director, responsible for organizing and participating in the Global Creative Waves, also been the link internationally to keep the creative teams together, inspiring them to do great and liberating work. He worked for the global brands of the Lilly Diabetes Franchise, Renagel, Saflutan and Byetta, etc. He created the Global Diabetes Franchise Campaign for Lilly, The Bydureon Global Campaign and also on the Zyprexa and Relprevv global campaigns. He also did creative training for the GSW offices around the world, coordinating creative ideation, execution and production. Then he was selected to lead the new GSW agency in Mexico as General Manager and lead the agency to have more 30 brands in 2 years. After that, Gustavo joined the Sudler&amp,Hennessey team as managing director and taking the agency into new creative territory.

Now, following in the footsteps of many entrepreneurs in the industry, Gustavo has decided to open his own agency: *Asterisco. His agency will focus on creative innovation to push the pharma advertising world forward. *Asterisco is currently working with the following clients: Astra Zeneca, Sanofi, Genzyme, Lundbeck, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Stendhal, 3M, Liomont, Biomédica de Referencia and Alestra.

In what ways can the pharma sales rep visit be more innovative?