GSK tunes in to Pandora and Facebook to raise vaccine awareness among older adults

GSK head of U.S. vaccines Judy Stewart delivered the keynote at Digital Pharma Innovation Week, talking about its first vaccination awareness campaign. (Digital Pharma Innovation)(GlaxoSmithKline)

Changing the healthcare habits of older adults is a tall order, but GlaxoSmithKline set out to do just that when it launched its first general vaccination awareness campaign this summer. Now, GSK is seeing its effort pick up traction, in part thanks to a decision to target consumers through Pandora and Facebook.

To help get the unbranded “Brought to You by Vaccines” campaign to the 50-plus crowd, GSK broke down the population into “micro-targets” using demographics along with medical data from health information firm IQVIA. Next, it tracked down the sources older adults used most frequently for healthcare information.

GSK discovered older adults were using Pandora and Facebook “by leaps and bounds more than the average person,” so it concentrated its messaging on those platforms, Judy Stewart, GSK senior vice president and head of U.S. vaccines, said Monday at this year’s Fierce Pharma Marketing's Digital Pharma Innovation Week.

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Pandora especially has seen its popularity skyrocket among 50-plus adults, who now stream an average of two hours of music per day, she added.

Reaching that group is critical, particularly since those “early-end older adults” have the spottiest vaccination rates and are most at-risk for vaccine-preventable diseases, Stewart said. But reaching that demographic has historically been especially difficult.

RELATED: GlaxoSmithKline debuts DTC campaign for Shingrix amid COVID-19-related vaccination dive

Context has been an important piece of the puzzle. The company is targeting the groups most likely to get vaccinated and delivering its message where those people are already seeking healthcare information online.

The British drugmaker's results to date include increased traffic to its campaign website and broader recognition from physicians and pharmacist partners. The multimedia campaign is running across digital, TV, social media and public relations channels.

Meanwhile, GSK has increased communications with pharmacies to help strategize on pandemic workarounds for in-pharmacy vaccinations. For instance, using outdoor space to help maintain social distancing guidelines—something that will no doubt become more complicated in the winter, Stewart said.

The company also embarked on satellite tours with its campaign co-sponsor American Association of Family Physicians to help explain the value of vaccines not only for individuals but also within a healthcare system overburdened by COVID-19, Stewart said.

RELATED: J&J wants everyone to know that taking care of their health can't wait—even during a pandemic

With seasonal flu on a collision course with COVID-19, making sure older adults are aware and up to date on their recommended vaccines could help ease the strain on hospitals.

“We’re not only helping ourselves and our communities; we’re alleviating the burden to the healthcare system. As we see a spike in COVID, (people) not going into the hospital for things like influenza helps relieve the pressure points in the system right now," she said.

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