Philly host committee taps Digitas Health for DNC digital and social media work

The Philadelphia host committee of the Democratic National Convention has hired a healthcare agency to manage its social media and digital this week--and pharma brands may want to take note.

The host group doesn't have healthcare concerns, or even political ones. It tapped Digitas Health LifeBrands, which is headquartered in Philadelphia, for its digital and social expertise, as well as its local connections, to run the host committee’s celebration and reception of the political fest in historic Philly. But nevertheless, Digitas Health Exec VP of Connected Health Brendan Gallagher is still hoping that healthcare brands pay attention to what the agency is doing this week.

“What the team is doing there with the host committee is essentially role modeling the type of work we want our brands to start engaging in more,” he told FiercePharmaMarketing in an interview. “… Content marketing is becoming one of the biggest drivers in marketing. It’s expected to be a $300 billion business by 2019, and we expect our healthcare brands to be engaging in it more and more.”

With more than 50,000 people converging on Philadelphia, along with countless others following the event online, Digitas Health should have ample opportunity to showcase its skills. The agency’s group director of brand communications strategy, Annie Heckenberger, is overseeing the DNC host committee’s social strategy, as well as about 200 social volunteers, over the convention’s 8-day run.

The nontraditional hire of a healthcare and pharma agency may also point to the mainstreaming of health specialty agencies. "Power of One," the initiative of Digitas parent company Publicis Groupe to encourage its agencies to work across specialties and silos, has worked to spur that more general recognition, Gallagher said.

“This industry has been a sleeping giant for a really long time,” Gallagher said. “One of the things we like to say is ‘health is the new wealth.’ Everybody’s getting into healthcare. And the disruption that’s happening within the industry is attracting new levels of talent and new types of expertise. … We’re getting into product and service design, social content marketing and experiential marketing, which is driving better experiences for our brands and their customers.”

- read the Digitas Health news release

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