Antimicrobial posters: In-office content provider gives ad boards a COVID-19-safe refresh

Patients in a hospital waiting room
In-office content and ad boards got an antimicrobial makeover as part of Physician's Weekly initiative to add protective coatings. (Getty/SuwanPhoto)

While many healthcare professionals enjoy the camaraderie of office lunchrooms, they probably don’t want extra contagions with their sandwich. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So Physician’s Weekly, the veteran editorial and pharma advertising newsletter-like wallboard provider, decided to take an extra step to make sure its posters were safe. It contracted with a coatings specialist and, beginning in September, added antimicrobial surfaces to all its posters in 23,000 locations.

The idea came up in the early days of the pandemic when lockdowns shuttered many offices and unknown transmission routes created confusion and fear. Physician’s Weekly staffers spent a lot of time talking to physicians, nurses and hospital administrators about offices being open or closed, what kind of information they wanted and how they were feeling.

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Are germ-free boards too much? Maybe. However, empathizing with customers is what’s important, CEO Greg Jackson said.

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The need for antimicrobial material “wasn’t expressed as a concern, but we recognized we needed to be consistent with the philosophies or the feelings that our audience was living through,” he said.

The static boards, changed monthly, are two-thirds editorial content and one-third pharma advertising, matched to fit the 20 different specialty or general offices where Physician’s Weekly appears.

Current advertisers, for instance, include GlaxoSmithKline’s Shingrix in primary care offices, AstraZeneca’s Imfinzi in hospitals, Eli Lilly’s Verzenio in oncology settings and Novo Nordisk’s Saxenda for diabetes providers.

Through the pandemic, the company has had a broad overview of healthcare professional office opening and closings. Some, like oncology offices, never closed and instead switched to reduced loads and telemedicine follow-ups, Jackson said. Some other specialty offices, such as psychiatry offices, are still closed to in-person visits, having switched entirely to virtual visits.