PhRMA to apply big bucks to new theme in 2017 marketing campaign

Pharma industry group PhRMA is gearing up for a new marketing campaign to replace its current “From Hope to Cures” push, with a new theme and tagline set to debut this month. The multiyear campaign promises spending in the “tens of millions” each year to drum up support for the reputationally challenged pharma industry.

Holly Campbell, director of communications at PhRMA, said the campaign will go beyond typical advertising and include a public affairs push. PhRMA plans to officially unveil the campaign next week.

“The point of the campaign is to highlight the tremendous opportunity that exists to tackle our most complex and devastating health conditions,” Campbell said. “It’s not only going to be advertising, but also a big effort to convene conversations with different stakeholders on [issues, such as] how to make healthcare more responsive to patient needs.”

From Hope to Cures launched in January 2014 to highlight pharma innovation and its value for patients, society and the economy, using patient stories to deliver the point. Campbell said the messaging of From Hope to Cures “will be folded into the new effort.” PhRMA advertising campaigns are funded by member company dues.

Last summer, as the drug pricing controversy and presidential campaign were roiling the industry, Campbell told FiercePharma that a new and bigger national campaign was in the works for 2017.

The need to bolster pharma's reputation remains a concern across the industry, particularly as President-elect Donald Trump has emerged as a vocal pharma critic. Last week, Trump attacked the industry in his first press conference since winning the election and proclaimed that drug companies “are getting away with murder.” The incoming president specifically called out industry lobbyists and their power in Washington.

PhRMA’s ongoing effort on behalf of its member organizations is consistent with others in the industry, such as trade association BIO, which started a heartwarming reputation campaign early last year. Individual pharma companies are also stepping up; last summer, Pfizer launched a marketing push that highlights the drug development process from the scientists' point of view, “Before It Became a Medicine.”