Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Selling Aspirin

Aspirin is so potent that many in the health professions contend that if it were invented today, it would be only available by prescription. In 1897, Felix Hoffman chemically concocted the first synthetic aspirin compound, known as acetylsalicylic acid. At the time he was working for the Bayer Company. In 1899 Bayer Aspirin was introduced. It was the first tablet ever to be marketed as a water-soluble pill. Fifty billion aspirins are consumed worldwide annually. A variety of painkillers line the store shelves today, but only aspirin is proven to have long-term cardiovascular and anticancer benefits. In spite of these positive aspects to the product, a concern that aspirin might contribute to Reye’s syndrome in children, a disease that affects the brain and liver, has led to aspirin having an identity crisis. There is a generation of individuals who have grown up assuming other drugs have completely replaced aspirin. Ask someone for a aspirin these days, and you’re likely to receive a Tylenol or an ibuprofen-based tablet of some kind. Aspirin manufacturers are trying to educate people that simple aspirin can help keep them alive.

How can the aspirin industry integrate PR, Social Media and other digital technology to reach its goal to promote the benefits of aspirin in a manner that seems to keep the pharmaceutical industry our of the direct conversation/communication?     Chapters 16 and 17

You know why aspirin was derived before any of the other painkillers? It's because it is a rather simple derivation from natural compounds. There is a chemical in willow bark that salicylic acid. You throw an acetyl-group on there and then you have nice and save anti-inflammatory. Not only that, but it protects your heart. Those other pills are much less natural, they come from sterile labs where they were just making chemicals and guesses and not trusting nature. They also have negative side-effects on your liver. And then don't get me started on that time Tylenol  killed a bunch of people. Sure it wasn't the manufacturers, but that was nasty, right.

Bayer has the problem where aspirin has become generic in the way that Kleenex is now all tissues and Band-Aides are now all bandages, but there are also generics.  How do you differentiate yourself when you are twice generic? You need some sort of social media presence.  I just looked and I couldn't even find a fan page. Generic "aspirin" had a page, but there were only 79 likes. Aspirin looks like it fell down the memory hole in spite of being first, being more natural, safer, and being a product of German Engineering.  So fist thing is first, you get your name out there for what you're good at. Send the press releases that show that a daily aspirin regimen saves lives.  Get that written up. Journalists just want to transcribe your releases and go home and drink, help them out. Also get on the facebooks and the twitters. Let your fans know you're there, and make it interactive. Give away samples of your low-dose coated aspirin. Push yourself on doctors. Have them recommend the regimen. Buy the Aspirin adword so you are at the top of the search. "Painkiller" too. In no way mention that your company collaborated with the Nazis in WWII. If it comes up say BMW did too! Send out samples in the mail and with the sunday paper. Get Bayer Aspirin on the tips of their tongues and down their throats.