New Condé Nast division aims to lure pharma with patient targeting, branded content

A page from Condé Nast's recent branded content campaign for Shire's eyelove dry eye disease awareness campaign.

Call it personalized health. After years of pumping up its wellness-focused content, Condé Nast has launched a new pharma-focused division to amp up its reader-targeting powers and drive more custom branded content for its pharma clients.

The idea for the specialized division came after the premium publisher realized one in five pieces of content across Condé Nast’s 22 brands already relates to health and wellness, said Jen Mormile, chief industry officer of pharma for Condé Nast. That includes some impressive efforts, including an Emmy Award-winning series that focused on a young woman's mastectomy.

The division has two key components: targeting healthcare patients using HIPAA-compliant medical data and creating custom and branded content.

To personalize content for particular types of patients, Condé Nast will use its proprietary data-optimization platform called Spire. Partnered with IMS for use in health and wellness, Spire will be able to target particular patients with specific advertising or custom content, based on each person's patient journey. Spire can also optimize the program—and prove ROI—by using script-level measurements, Mormile said.

“It’s a closed loop, continuous optimization platform that improves the efficacy of people’s marketing dollars,” she said.

The content play aims to create specific branded content or sponsored editorial content under Condé Nast’s in-house branded content agency, 23 Stories. A new division under 23 Stories, called The Script, will focus on creating health and wellness content. The Script will organize and bring together Condé Nast's current work on custom pharma content, such as a recent effort for Shire’s eyelove dry eye awareness campaign before the launch of its branded treatment Xiidra.

Mormile pointed to a series in Glamour called “Screw You Cancer,” a digital video series she called a different take on the idea of patient stories. The series followed a young BRCA1-positive comedian and her family through a preventative mastectomy. It not only built a huge following, but also won an Emmy, Mormile said.

Along with the targeted marketing and custom health content, Condé Nast can also deliver audience heft. Its broad portfolio of upscale print and digital brands—including Self, Vanity Fair, Glamour, The New Yorker, GQ, Wired and Teen Vogue—nets out to 105 million people coming into the group digitally every month. Another 175 million participate on its social platforms, and print titles reach another 50 million, Mormile said.

Interestingly, those millions may make up an untapped healthcare audience. Condé Nast’s own research shows that 73% of its subscribers and readers don’t regularly go to health-endemic websites like WebMD and Everyday Health, she said.

“Health is the new wealth these days,” said Mormile. “Whether you’re looking at it from what kind of products am I putting on my skin when I put on my make up every day, to what kind of vitamins am I taking, to people taking travel vacations to healthy destinations or just getting more active, I think across the entire portfolio and across everyone’s lives, people want to be healthy.”