Beantown biopharma campaign takes over Kendall Square in agency blitz

Humorous messages combining Beantown arcana and biotech business blanket Kendall Square this month, thanks to a local agency campaign.

Boston subway riders—make that Boston “T” riders—passing through Kendall Square will be treated to local biopharma banter this month. To showcase its capabilities to the pharma and biotech crowd in Beantown, Precision Medicine Group has staged a station takeover combining Boston lore with biopharma messages on bright yellow signage all around.

“Forget Boston mobsters and corrupt politicians. The trials of the century are now clinical,” reads one sign. Another proclaims: “Charlie never made it up to the street. Your molecule shouldn’t suffer the same fate.”

The first is a reference to the Boston Massacre “trial of the century” in 1770, in which John Adams defended soldiers accused of killing citizens. The second refers to a popular old Boston subway song about “Charlie on the MTA” who gets trapped on the subway for lack of additional fare, said Deborah Lotterman, chief creative officer of precisioneffect, the ad agency in the Precision Medicine network, which created the campaign.

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The network, which also includes Precision for Medicine and Precision for Value, was launched in 2012 and grew quickly through acquisitions, Lotterman said. Precisioneffect President Carolyn Morgan said the campaign was born out of the desire to communicate the value the different specialty groups deliver together.

“The campaign is designed to speak to our audience of supersmart, motivated and innovative pharma marketers, scientists, developers, executives, and commercial people,” Lotterman said. “But a lot of laypeople will also get it because healthcare and medicine is increasingly talked about by all of us. Certainly, living here where we do in this locus of universities and businesses, a lot of people are in touch with what’s going on in medicine and pharmaceutical development. When you combine that with ‘T’ arcana, I’m sure that we’re getting a lot of smiles and chuckles from people who aren’t necessarily our audience.”

The campaign first began in a smaller incarnation last fall for Boston’s annual innovation festival, HUBWeek, when theme line “Born in Biotech, Bred in Boston” was first crafted. The new work expands on that idea and presence through the month of April in Kendall Square on the T’s Red Line. As another sign notes, “Our novel approach helps accelerate medical innovation. Now if only it could speed up the Red Line.”