Ogilvy’s social media report an embarrassment

Cracked eggKEY TAKEAWAY: Ogilivy Healthworld’s report on social media is shallow and flawed and ignores advanced metrics within digital marketing. While experience can indeed be a curse, young, inexperienced digital people can spend a lot of money without showing needed results.

Ogilvy Healthworld, like any big agency, is trying to build clients and what better way than to issue a report on social media within pharma that appeals to the ignorance of DTC marketers.


While the report has some good numbers, i.e. in 2013 pharma was tweeting an average of 75 times a week, but in 2014 that figure increased to 475 (a 530% increase!), what it lacks is an in depth analysis beyond the numbers.  For example a great number of people within the industry follow pharma companies/brands on social media, not patients.

Secondly, there is a matter of trust. According to Edelman “trust in the pharmaceutical industry is relatively low. With a trust level among the general public of 58 percent, the pharmaceutical industry is ranked 8th out of our 15 studied industries.”  A report from Harris Poll indicate  “Big Pharma ranked ninth out of 14 industries, faring little better than other much-maligned categories such as airlines and insurance companies. Let’s face it, names such as Merck and Pfizer spur more skepticism than traditional drug brands like Bayer and Excedrin ever did in the old days. There are many reasons why that perception has changed, but the common denominator amid the contention appears to be a lack of trust.”


Note to the Ogilvy staff “trust is a critical issue when it comes to social media”.

Finally, in a binder here on my desk are the results of numerous qual and quant studies that I led for a client that ask “would follow a pharma company on social media in which the overwhelming majority said “no”.  When asked “why?”, the two most common answers were trust and “what’s in it for me (value)?”

Frankly, this report is an embarrassment to the Ogilvy team and has too many “duh” findings, but let’s face it, this report was meant to get their name out there for potential clients.  If you thought this report was insightful you are coming to the party after everyone has already left.