Teva goes analog for asthma with hands-on waiting-room game

With patients more and more frequently turning to digital channels for their health information, many drugmakers are headed that direction with their marketing, too. But when looking at how to market Teva's QVAR inhalation aerosol, the Israeli company, in conjunction with Merkley + Partners, asked an important question.

"Why does everything have to be a computer or iPad thing?," Erich Hartmann, M + P creative group head, asked Medical Marketing & Media.

Instead, the pair refashioned the old "roll the silver ball around until it falls into the clown's nose" game as a journey through asthma-affected lungs. In doing so, Teva ($TEVA) illustrated just what sets QVAR apart from other asthma products: It contains small medication particles that can reach small and large airways in the lungs.

"If you look at other patient-education pieces, they generally don't get into the 'how.' They're usually about the product benefits. But here, we had this small-particle story, which was both a differentiating one and one that loaned itself to that tactile, visual approach," Merkley + Partners creative group head Steve Pashkoff told MM&M.

And aside from conveying QVAR's unique attribute, the analog game also helped it stand out from the deluge of marketing materials that abound in waiting rooms these days. "There are brochures, posters and tear sheets. Maybe there's some video. There are smartphones," Stephanie Tsolakis, a senior manager of brand marketing at Teva, told the publication. "We wanted to break through all of that."

The lessons to be learned here? Though the mobile app frenzy may be sweeping through pharma as we speak, as always, the message is just as important as the medium. But when it does come down to the medium, as Hartmann put it, "you can stand out as much with low-tech as you can with high-tech."

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