VitalSigns
Return to the Blog Homepage

Loren Miller

Recent Posts by Loren Miller

July 12, 2017

0 Comments

Categories: Communications

Tags: ,

The Power of Celebrity in Healthcare Communications

“Would you trust Tom Selleck with your life savings?” The New York Times asked this question last month when examining the use of celebrity spokespeople, like Selleck and Alex Trebek, to promote products to retirees. The article describes efforts to identify trusted, credible, and peer-like voices to appeal to an older generation. “After all,” it notes, “when the discussion is life insurance, reverse mortgages or pharmaceuticals, the stakes are higher, the consequences of an imprudent choice greater.” The pharma world is keenly aware of the potential power of celebrities—and the stakes. From Magic to Couric to Jolie, the impact of a health disclosure can be influential and far-reaching, heightening awareness and even prompting consumer action. Over the years, marketers have leveraged this “halo effect” through celebrity partnerships across PR and advertising campaigns (sometimes to uncommon ends!). However, some have also faced criticism at times for what have been seen as ill-suited or controversial choices of partners. So, while there is power in celebrity voices, it is critical to determine whether a celebrity spokesperson is the right strategic approach—and fit—for a given campaign or initiative. Before recommending a celebrity spokesperson to our clients, we ask ourselves: Do they reach the targetContinue Reading

September 16, 2016

0 Comments

Categories: Communications, News Media

Tags: , , ,

John Oliver and the Case for Candid Data Communications

Earlier this year, HBO’s Last Week Tonight featured a segment on scientific studies. In it, John Oliver criticized the media for reporting untrue or incomplete information, and laid some blame on the scientific community as well for the “publish or perish” mindset and the lack of emphasis on reproducibility. The news media responded, both echoing Oliver’s criticisms and defending their craft. And science bloggers responded, too, with posts upon posts detailing hopes for and grievances with their news media peers. One stone left mostly unturned, however, was the role of PR as the go-between in disseminating scientific information. In counseling our clients, developing communications, and reaching out to news media, PR is constantly faced with questions on how best to provide support around data announcements. Here are our rules of thumb: Devil is in the [data] detail. Gaining an understanding of nuances, including study design and statistical significance, is crucial to maintaining data accuracy and appropriately representing their importance. Is it “novel,” or just “new”? Resist the urge for hyperbole and reserve buzz words for products and milestones that are truly deserving. Make lemonade. Staying true to the data doesn’t mean forgoing opportunities. Smart targeting and creative bundling can giveContinue Reading