How animation is shaping pharmaceutical marketing
Manroop Takhar explores how animation is shaping pharmaceutical marketing in his article, by discussing the history of animation and its relationship with marketing.
Once upon a time, medicine and medical equipment was only sold through the word-of-mouth approach. A lot has happened since then that has revolutionised the way pharmaceutical marketing works, including the use of animation.
In this article, we will take a look at how exactly animation and marketing are working together.
The Plenaxis story
Let’s take a look at Plenaxis, an oral suspension that reduces testosterone levels in patients with prostate cancer. The challenge which the marketers of Plenaxis had was to demonstrate the steps involved in reconstituting and administering Plenaxis to doctors and patients.
Enter the star of the show: 3D animation. In just 70 seconds, the animation takes viewers through all the required steps engagingly and comprehensibly. As a result, doctors have been able to administer Plenaxis with better precision.
Synergizing communications with art
It was somewhere around 1905-1907 when the first animated feature is known to have been released by an Anglo-American gentleman, called James Stuart Blackton.
Since then, animation has travelled a long way, advancing into cartoons, three-dimensional features and more recently, motion, whiteboard and animated infographics.
With the advent of cartoon animations being such a huge success with children, marketers soon began to realise that animations could be used to communicate issues, topics and messages pertaining to a wide range of subjects and industries.
From conveying an emotional message that would tug at the heart strings of an audience, to explaining the functions of human organs to medical students; from delivering non-formal modes of education to children in developing countries, to entertainingly introduce a product or service, animation has proved itself to be a powerful communications tool.
Synergizing business with audio-visual forms art forms
I wonder if Mr Blackton would have thought that there will be a day when animation would be commercially successful in the entertainment industry.
Better still, would he have thought animation would be used to market and advertise businesses, let alone products and services?
This is exactly what is happening now. Animation and marketing have shaken hands and have taken on working together to bring in higher ROIs for businesses of all types, in all languages, as far as the eye can see.
How animation and marketing work together
When we think of animation used in a marketing context, probably television advertisements of cereal brands and video games spring to mind. Indeed, these are pioneering examples of how the collaboration of animation and marketing work successfully.
Of course, you only need to look for your nearest Disneyland theme park to get a classic example of animation and marketing working hand in hand. The Disney franchise has gotten the whole world to remember their brand, almost automatically.
“Of course, you only need to look for your nearest Disneyland theme park to get a classic example of animation and marketing working hand in hand.”
Medium-scale and smaller businesses started incorporating animation into their marketing strategies, after a development that was distinctively unusual.
The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, or the RSA, had introduced an annual event by the name of RSA Animate in 2009. These events showcased animations that were created on the basis of key lectures on world-changing ideas.
The animations became immensely popular globally and its unique whiteboard animation style caught the eyes of marketers who started seeing the commercial benefits their businesses could gain from it.
The beauty of whiteboard animation lies in its simple aesthetic value that can make complex messages be conveyed in comprehensible ways.
Consumer psychologists have seen that as consumers, we respond to video more because an emotional connection is usually established. This builds trust and speeds up consumer decision making compared with reading static text or images, be it online or in print.
The Canesten duo campaign
Another successful example of animation synergising with marketing is the Canesten Duo campaign that was initially launched in 2009 and is reported to have generated a 14.9 % boost in sales afterwards.
The advertisement had a simple, flipchart animation style that has a hand-drawn female character as the main protagonist.
“The beauty of whiteboard animation lies in its simple aesthetic value that can make complex messages be conveyed in comprehensible ways.”
The target audience (women suffering from thrush internally and externally) could easily understand how they could use the double-action solution (i.e. a capsule to take care of the internal symptoms and a cream for the external symptoms) that Canesten Duo offers.
Bayer Consumer Care, the company behind this advertising campaign, is reported to have invested £1.5 million in the consecutive years during which this advertisement was broadcast.
Animation is shaping pharmaceutical marketing
The audio-visual aesthetics of animation have a strong attention-grabbing power which pulls audiences in.
Consequently, there is an increasing level of growth in pharma marketing companies that use animations to create:-
√ Method-of-action videos for taking medicines
√ Animated drug videos to aid in drug development
√ Scientific visualizations
√ Biotech animations
The reason behind this boils down to consumers finding animation more engaging and appealing to watch as well as being easier to understand and identify with.
“…consumers finding animation more engaging and appealing to watch…”
Tips on getting the most out of animation for pharma marketers
◊ Animation can show what photography cannot. It can make mere objects come to life!
◊ Animations can be used to visually summarize complex messages, especially with 3D animation, and especially for medical models and structures.
◊ Great animations are based on great scripts that engage viewers through a storytelling approach- excellent for helping patients relate to their condition or even to understand how to use medicines.
◊ If you are a pharma company, coming up with a new form of medicine, or medical equipment, but are still at the conceptual stage of the product development cycle, then you could use animation to help explain your ideas and concepts effectively to potential investors.
◊ Based on principles of colour psychology, consumer psychology and sound appeal, animation is a proven way to engage with your audience.
About the author:
Manroop Takhar is the managing director at Qudos Animations, a leading animation studio based in London, producing animations for businesses in pharma marketing as well as a wide range of other industries.
What role does animation play in pharmaceutical marketing?