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Rich Sharp

Recent Posts by Rich Sharp

October 7, 2014


Categories: Digital and Social Media

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Defying Marketing: The Ice Bucket Challenge

More than any other viral campaign in recent memory, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge struck a chord with people because of the devastating effect of the disease (one of my uncles died from ALS so I am all too familiar with those effects). It is a brutal disease, and all efforts to eradicate it are most welcome. Since it came to the public’s attention, there have been ample analyses of the campaign – much of them focused either on why it’s not a good idea, or on how to make your viral campaign work like the Ice Bucket Challenge (full disclosure: we got in on the action, too). What’s disturbing about some of these analyses is that this is not a campaign. It wasn’t baked in a brainstorm. It wasn’t a paid effort to promote. It just happened. And it’s time we realize that. There’s no question the social nature of the Ice Bucket Challenge is something that will be studied in marketing classes for years to come. What touched our hearts? Did we latch on to a brand, and did that brand benefit? Did it evolve into a campaign? How did it catch fire? Who gained from this? InContinue Reading

June 18, 2014


Categories: Digital and Social Media, FDA News

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Social Media Guidance from FDA: Our Take

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday issued draft social media guidance aimed at communicating within character limits and addressing drug misinformation. In each instance, the FDA suggests fair, flexible guidance that will inform social media activity in the pharmaceutical industry for years to come. The draft guidance is a clear signal that the FDA is listening to our industry as we strive (and sometimes struggle) to communicate product information via social media with the least amount of risk. In the first draft guidance, “Internet/Social Media Platforms with Character Space Limitations — Presenting Risk and Benefit Information for Prescription Drugs and Medical Devices,” marketers are given guidance on working with risk and benefit information in character-limiting social media channels. Since the advent of Twitter, a limit of 140 characters has been fraught with peril yet offers promise. Trying to wedge benefits and risk information remains a challenge, but this new draft guidance gives marketers clarity on what can constitute a “risk-free” tweet. In a blog post today, Tom Abrams, director of FDA’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion, reminds us of our obligations to marry benefits with appropriate risk information: “We understand that communicating on electronic Internet sites with characterContinue Reading