Medicine Digest

26 February 2024

Socializing Pharma – Sanofi Gets it Right

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april 18, 2013

Today’s patients are empowered and connected – living as much in the digital world as the “real” world. It isn’t easy to engage healthcare customers in social media. FDA guidance lags, and breeds anxiety among pharma companies hesitant to risk crossing the boundaries.

One company in particular is really trailblazing in the digital/social media space. Sanofi is not only embracing social media, but is creating spaces for meaningful engagement with diabetes patients. Twitter and Facebook feeds provide lifestyle tips and tools – everything from managing blood sugar to providing help for parents of diabetic children such as how to select a babysitter for a night out on the town.

One campaign stands out, blending social/digital media with traditional strategies, and though launched in 2010, it’s a strong example of how sanofi is hitting the high notes in marketing diabetes care as relevant and personal.

Sanofi’s Diabetes Co-stars awareness campaign targeted diabetics and their caregivers, emphasizing the value of a strong support network for people living with diabetes. Partnering with Weeds actress Elizabeth Perkins, sanofi is now creating a documentary featuring patients and their family and friends. Patients submitted stories via video and written entries to the campaign website to nominate their “co-star,” the person in their life who has made the biggest impact on their personal diabetes journey. The winners will be featured in the documentary.

The campaign also used traditional tactics, signing on Paul Sorvino (user of sanofi’s Lantus for diabetes) and his Oscar-winning daughter Mira Sorvino to drive a major media tour. Diabetes Co-Stars achieved an audience reach of more than 239 million through national, top-tier media including the Today Show, Fox & Friends, USA Today, New York Post, and Redbook.

The success factor was that the campaign went beyond patients; it engaged their entire social support networks – online and offline. It made a meaningful connection to the diabetes lifestyle, beyond clinical management and care. And by crowd-sourcing the content, sanofi created a collective experience between the brand, its customers, and their loved ones.