Location-based Technology

Bob Mason, EVP, Managing Director of Brand Strategy, Palio

Last year I wrote about the “Checking in” fad, but is it gaining momentum… especially in the pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing world?  Checking in is still a niche activity but with over 50 percent of mobile users armed with smartphone technology, this will be the year it’s moving to the masses as individuals use these apps to discover new places, people and information. Why are “geo-services” appealing? Because they are an exciting, interactive way to engage an audience, particularly in health care, and there is a pool of opportunity for all the applications and services out there as health care marketers look for new ways to engage consumers.

How does location-based information help?

Be in the Know Wherever you Go – Most people pack their prescriptions prior to traveling but there are times when you need a “vacation fill.” Years ago, being in an unfamiliar area meant driving in circles to find a neighborhood pharmacy. Today, with applications like Foursquare, not only can people find the nearest location, they can also access reviews, promotions, tips and driving directions.

Imagine needing emergency medicine such as an epinephrine pen. A mobile device with a geographical information system can help people find the nearest pharmacy, check drug availability and get required medication in time.

Map your Destination – Most rental car companies offer GPS tracking devices for an extra fee and most smartphones come with GPS pre-installed. Travelers and first-timers can also use location-based technology to find the nearest hospital, walk-in medical clinic or dialysis facility.

Connect Environmental Concerns with State of Health – Individuals that check in everywhere can uncover patterns that may provide insight about how their locations affect their state of health. Does Chinese Restaurant Syndrome strike whenever you visit your favorite take out?

Network with Like-Minded People – Newly diagnosed with diabetes, fibromyalgia or breast cancer? Social media applications bring together people from anywhere in the world, providing a forum for virtual support and exchange of ideas right from your iPhone, Blackberry or other handheld device. Want to meet in person? Location-based social apps can help you find people in your vicinity with the same concerns.

Location-based technology is changing how we shop, communicate and learn. Foursquare has surpassed six million users, but people are interested in more than checking in. Interest in on-the-spot mobile coupons is growing, and health care providers can use location-based technology to not just educate and inform consumers, but inspire them into action. Social mobile communication has a strong outlook for the future and should be a key component of the marketing strategy.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Palio Tech Watch | 10.10.11

Palio Tech Watch: The Hot 5

Marty Hardin, SVP Director of Emerging Media and Technology

01. Amazing printer concept

in prototype phase
Periperals, concept, user experience

What it is:

A concept for a printer from Artefact that behaves the way you wish your own printer did.

Why it Matters:

Devices are not becoming smarter, our observations of human behavior should be getting better to help in our refinement of what will appeal to consumers. Or, as the old saying goes, “the bait should suit the fish, not the angler.” In order for us, as an industry, to be able to achieve uptake in the marketplace, the first place we should start is through the eyes of the consumer. What do they want? What do they need? What frustrates them and how can we make it better? Customer centric design will make all the difference. Lose focus on the customer’s needs and desires, and your product, website or app will fail.

02. Nicholas Felton’s design of Facebook’s timeline

in limited pre-release

Information graphics, user experience, information graphics

What it is:

The big news rolling out of the F8 conference

Why it Matters:

This is a robust demonstration of how deeply information graphics have penetrated the marketplace. While, like any change on Facebook, there will be people who will not like it, this will have a major impact on how people will want to receive information dense materials. As we develop materials that are heavy in facts, figures and data points, we should all take note, and steal… er, borrow a page from Facebook.


03. Wisconsin library now lending iPads


Tablet devices, iPad, iOS, education

What it is:

A clear indicator of how far tablet technology has come and how far it will be going

Why it Matters:

The public library is the last place you’d expect to be able to check out an electronic device. But, when you think about it, it makes sense. In the pilot program, each of the 32 iPads in the library’s inventory is loaded with 1,000 classic titles and 10 audio books. That represents a virtual inventory of 32,000 books and 320 audio books that the library can have on hand at any time.It should also be noted some 11,000 libraries (out of a total of 122,101 across the nation) last month began lending books for Amazon’s Kindle ebook platform according to Mashable.com.What is also clear, that while the pharma industry has taken note of the value of tablet technology from a costs savings perspective, the true insight is that in the very near future, cost savings or not, this will be our targets preferred choice of interface.


04. Monitoring patients using an intelligent t-shirt

in the prototype phase

Smart garments, telemetrics, biometrics

What it is:

A wearable patient monitoring device

Why it Matters:

In the near future, patients and doctors will have access to realtime, data. This could also be a boon to the pharma industry. Imagine being able to track and interact with a patient based on actual data. AE’s could be avoided, better refinement of dosage could be calibrated and a closer correlation between physical conditions, lifestyle choices and the patients disease state could be tracked, monitored and recorded. Essentially, we would have a realtime image of our patients and their lives. Real world data that could shed light on discoveries that lab studies would never be able to observe.


05. Dreamworks bypasses HBO to stream to Netflix

Entertainment, streaming media

What it is:

The first major movie studio to opt to stream directly to consumers via a web-based distribution service

Why it Matters:

This follows closely to Discovery Network’s recent announcement that they would stream full episodes of past season’s shows. What’s more important is that this is a very strong indicator that web based video services have moved from being a novel way to watch videos to a viable, profitable way to distribute content.We are starting to see a shift from device oriented perceptions (internet video, mobile video, cable television, etc.), to an innate understanding that a screen is a a video portal, regardless of device. With that shift in perception, the credibility of the content is no longer being diminished by the device or delivery method. The video device enabled consumer will be more likely to judge the quality of the content above the delivery method. This means that a message from a corporation will be as valid online as it is in broadcast, without the added cost of delivery that traditional television brings with it.


 Other stories of note


How to use the new Facebook Timeline feature to see who has unfriended you

You may have been unfriended, but not know it. This simple tip shows how. Hey, since they aren’t your friends anymore, they won’t see it if you post this on Facebook…


Lifty brings classic literature to your iPad, mobile device or desktop

Related to the iPad library story above, Lifty is new service that accesses Project Gutenberg‘s 20,000 open source e-reader based literary classics, without having to use the clunky Project Gutenberg interface. Lifty is free, accesa and doesn’t require you to join, but if you do, you get the added benefit of being able to book mark your selections and return to them later.


Web Sensation: “What set the mood the day you were conceived”

GE, along with  The Barbarian Group, has created another informative and entertaining data visualization, but this time it’s about the day you were conceived. Be sure to look in the lower right corner to enter your birth date. The stats are cool. Unfortunately the mental image of my folks… well, thankfully, GE hasn’t figured out how to visualize everything.


 Happy exploring.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

The Peril of Privacy

Jessica Henkel, Assistant Account Executive, Palio

Are you concerned about your privacy? Nearly half of online users are, according to a 2010 Marist poll. Whether it’s fear of corporate spying, unwarranted access to private information, personal details landing in unscrupulous hands or breaching patient confidentiality, there are always sensitivities when sharing information online. Some people and companies have taken an extreme approach, choosing to limit or avoid participating in social networks. But what happens when you don’t participate?

Not having a social networking presence can severely limit your connections and cultural literacy. For companies this can be especially detrimental, especially as more people conduct internet research as their first point of contact when making decisions. Like the lottery, you can’t win it if you’re not in it, and if you’re not participating where your customers are interacting, you’re missing opportunities and potentially leaving money on the table.

We meet online. How relationships are formed is changing. It used to be community social events, business conferences or the racquetball court that brought people together. Today people hang out on online listservs, Facebook pages, Twitter chats or make connections as the result of reading and replying to blog posts. We know more people from around the globe, who speak different languages and enjoy different cultures. Not participating in social networks severely limits your connections and hampers your ability to form relationships with people outside your immediate geography.

Credibility can also be called into question. Patients considering a medical procedure or partners interested in working with a company and its employees go online to gather background information. They not only check your Website to learn what you do, but they’re searching social networks to see what you are posting and what your customers are saying about you. Social listening and support can boost credibility by showing how you respond to customer feedback. There’s also something to be said for approachability and accessibility – both of which are conveyed through social interactions.

Build trust and authority. Social media can make the difference between being found and not found because of its high SEO return. More contributions, discussions, and shared links lead to greater social influence. When you stay out of the conversation, you miss the opportunity to position company thought leaders as experts or establish your brand as the leading solution to your customers’ problems.

You give others control. Even if your stance to shun social media is firm, your customers are not going to follow your lead. Messages about your company, products or services will be broadcast by others and without your lead can contribute to misinformation at best or reputation damage at worst.

Building a strong brand presence requires social media participation. While it’s right to be concerned about privacy and take steps to protect it, it’s also important to realize that walling off your company or yourself can put you at a disadvantage.

With GPS technology on our smartphones, optical readers used by airports and government facilities and technology to monitor our online behavior, privacy isn’t what it used to be. Purposely avoiding the social networks – even under the guise of privacy concerns – is no longer feasible for companies that want to succeed.

What are you doing to increase social participation in your organization?


Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Palio Tech Watch | 10.03.11


Palio Tech Watch: The Hot 5

By: Marty Hardin, SVP Director of Emerging Media and Technology

01. Brain scans to go

in alpha development
Mobile, medical devices, medical imaging

What it is:

A fully functional smartphone brain scanner consisting of a low-cost 14-channel EEG headset with a wireless connection to a smartphone (Nokia N900), enabling minimally invasive EEG monitoring in naturalistic settings. The smartphone provides a touch-based interface with real-time brain state decoding and 3D reconstruction.

Why it Matters:

For healthcare, as smartphones get truly smarter, the possibilities available to physicians become exponentially more rubust and useful. This will allow doctors to become more agile and more accurate in their ability to treat and diagnose patients. For research and diagnostic investigation, this demonstrates the capabilities of very complex functionality in the field. Now the diagnostic equipment will be able to travel to where the patient is. Real world observations may yield new, unexpected results.

02. Food Allergen Detector

in concept phase
Food Allergen Detector from Erik Borg on Vimeo.
Medical devices, assistive technologies, prototype

What it is:

A concept for a device that detects the presence of allergens in food.

Why it Matters:

With newer technologies, the burden of everyday tasks should in theory become less and less difficult. And, while this is a student design concept, it was done in conjunction with Philips. This is a strong indicator that more devices with a strong, singular focus will be developed by companies.


03. Sickweather

in βeta

Sickweather website image
Categories list goes here

What it is:

Sickweather combines social networking with real-time intelligence reporting that actually forecasts the movement of illness. Just as Doppler radar scans the skies for indicators of bad weather, Sickweather scans social networks for indicators of illness, allowing its users to check for the chance of sickness as easily as they can check for the chance of rain.

Why it Matters:

By combining social media and illness reporting, users will be able to track what illnesses are out there, how fast they are moving, and plan on taking the necessary steps to take prophylactic measures. I think it’s safe to assume that whatever illness is looming on the horizon, there will be product placement that aligns to the immediate crisis. The result? A highly engaged, highly motivated audience that is primed and ready for the advertisers product. Smart move.


04. A “lamp” turns your desktop into an iPad

in the prototype phase

Augmented reality, liquid interface, prototype

What it is:

A computer interface that does away with with physical interaction with the device itself

Why it Matters:

As technology evolves and matures, the need for physical human to machine interaction should become more transparent, until the technology driving the interaction disappears. Imagine a doctor and a patient being able to interface without the device getting in the way. Or, a sales rep being able to take a healthcare provider though a detail without a device.


05. Best selling iPad app created with Flash

Adobe Flash, iOS, devices, iPad, gaming, apps 

What it is:

A game that became the top selling game for the iPad despite the continuing myth that you can’t develop in Flash for the iPad

Why it Matters:

This is a definitive answer to the widely held assumption that you can’t develop in Flash for iOS devices. There are many companies and individuals who have devoted countless hours and years to honing and refining their flash skills. This signals a positive step forward for people who do remarkable things in this stalwart program. It also means that established development cycles can be easily modified to bring Flash to the millions who have adopted the iOS tablet device platform.


 Other stories of note


Google Buys 1,023 U.S. Patents From IBM; No Terms Disclosed

This is on top of the 1,030 patients they acquired in July. There are fewer companies than Google that are as deeply immersed in technology. Remember, the concept for the mouse driven computer came from IBM’s PARC Center in the 70′s. That technology became the Mac computer. Imagine what goodies Google may have purchased and what impact that coud have on the future web.


1 Million Android and iOS apps have now been published

As the smartphone market continues to boom and device owners download an increasing number of applications, app discovery platform AppsFire announced that there have now been more than 1 million apps published to the Apple App Store and Android Market combined.


Web Sensation: “What I Wore Today”

Poppy Disney’s blog is now a social media sensation that has tapped in to the inner-”Fashonista” of people in UK and has also spun off into an iPhone app. It’s important, because the amount of work required of the user is pretty intense: join, take a picture, upload the picture, describe the picture, vote, etc. If consumers are engaged on a deeply emotional level, they will take as many steps as they need to participate. The trick is getting them that deeply engaged.


 Happy exploring.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Is Search Technology Changing How We Think?

Tess Okura, VP, Account Director, Palio

Like many children of the 70’s, I could rattle off the phone number of every person I knew and other random facts. Learning and memorizing things came easily, but it was a necessity – it was a time when there was no smart phone or Internet to look things up.

Today, however, technology has provided with so much information at our fingertips that our critical thinking skills are often less exercised or, perhaps, are over-stimulated, and that can be dangerous if you want to lead with thoughtful strategic thinking in the pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing space.

Though we’re now incredibly aided by technology, we’re also bombarded with more information than ever before. Everything we do from work to play to interacting with families and friends stimulates our brains, helping us learn and acquire new information each day. Add in the amount of digital information being created through emails, instant messages, blog posts, Web sites, Facebook updates, digital phone calls, podcasts and more, our brains are constantly in overdrive.

Technology has certainly made information more available and accessible, and it offers unprecedented convenience. Many technologies are sold on the promise that it will free up time to help us be more thoughtful and creative thinkers. While Google and ubiquitous access to a variety of media has put a world of knowledge at our fingertips, it may not necessarily be making us any smarter.

The decline of critical thinking skills is one area of concern. Education reporter Trip Gabriel recently discussed the quality of learning in online curriculum, where advocates cite its convenience and critics say that it’s all about saving money.

Jack London was the subject in Daterrius Hamilton’s online English 3 course. In a high school classroom packed with computers, he read a brief biography of London with single-paragraph excerpts from the author’s works. But the curriculum did not require him, as it had generations of English students, to wade through a tattered copy of “Call of the Wild” or “To Build a Fire.”

Hamilton, who had failed English 3 in a conventional classroom and was hoping to earn credit online to graduate, was asked a question about the meaning of social Darwinism. He pasted the question into Google and read a summary of a Wikipedia entry. He copied the language, spell-checked it and emailed it to his teacher.

Google may help speed the time to answer, but changing the depth and breadth of instruction can be detrimental to developing problem solving skills and memory recall. These proficiencies are important for intellectual development and fostering innovation.

Search efficiency is also changing how we interact. Whereas people might have deliberated at length over a given topic, being able to readily access information lessens the need for debate and argumentation. What’s the point when you can just Google for an answer? This can be potentially limiting because new ideas are born from looking at old concepts in a new light.

Gary Small, professor of Psychiatry and Aging at UCLA School of Medicine has looked at how search is affecting our brains and notes that it’s not making us smart or stupid, but it is changing how we think.  What search does, he says, is change how we use our memory.

Unlike children of the 70’s who had to memorize phone numbers, people today can simply look them up in their handheld device or press a button for speed dial. There is no need for active thinking. However, we still have to pick and choose what we need to remember. Individuals attending an industry trade show need to be able to remember people’s names, what company they work for and if and when they’ve interacted. It would be awkward to need to look up that information on a handheld device.

Our prior experiences, education and ability to activate short-term memory help us search online, but for interacting in the real world, technology can be used to encourage brain fitness. Small suggests activities such as Sudoku puzzles, games and other memory techniques in addition to physical training and healthy living to improve brain efficiency and brain health as we age.

Search and other technologies are indeed changing how we think. The way we use memory is being altered as we move to a society of searchers and gathers. Technology has created a world where information changes quickly, and ideas can be distributed almost instantaneously. Individuals need to develop and nurture critical thinking skills so they can continue to innovate, evaluate information and arrive at thoughtful conclusions.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Client/Agency Series: Creativity

Philip Reynolds, VP, Associate Creative Director, Palio

In our “Client vs. Agency” series, we’ve looked at the differing views that can be taken regarding time, money, expectations and collaboration. Now, we’ll look at creativity.

Creativity is probably the first thing that clients say that they want from a new agency. Rarely will they fault a previous agency for anything else besides a withering of creativity – even if there were a plethora of actual reasons why the relationship ended. “They just stopped bringing us big ideas” is the usual refrain, and it’s more or less always true. Even if there is a different reason why the relationship stopped working, once it’s not on good ground, it’s next to impossible to deliver good creative.

(Just think about a couple in a relationship that’s on the rocks. Are they thinking up the same romantic surprises for each other anymore? Not likely.)

What is creativity, anyway? Like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, I know it when I see it. And I know it when I don’t see it, too. But one of the biggest pitfalls in a client/agency relationship is the agency’s accurate understanding of what the client sees as creativity – and what the client needs from creativity. Those two are not always the same thing, and they’re not always the same as what the agency sees as creativity, either.

  1. Agency creativity is what you dream up to win shiny awards.
  2. Client creativity usually falls in the misty continuum between “we’d actually be allowed to do it by Legal” and “stuff I’ve already thought of myself.” This continuum is sometimes very small.
  3. What the client needs from creativity – this is the sweet spot. This is what matters.

If you can figure out what the client needs creativity to do, you’re 90% of the way there. It sounds like it’s obvious, then. You don’t worry about the agency version or the client version. You just skip to this one, right? Well, ideally, yes.

But it can be surprisingly difficult to check your ego and not go forward with a concept that might not be exact fit for this client… but you just know would win you that award you’ve been coveting.

And it can be even more difficult to get past the concept of creativity that your client might have cemented into his or her brain. If you’ve ever heard the sentence, “We need a a viral video,” you know just what I’m talking about. Whenever anybody’s spent a long time mulling over an idea, it can be hard to get them to see why something else might be better.

No, it’s not an easy job. But when you have the understanding of the product and where it needs to go – the understanding of your client as a person and what makes them tick – and the understanding of what the market already has and what it needs – that’s when you hit upon what your client needs. The best creativity of all.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Games Healthcare Companies Play

Todd LaRoche, EVP, Managing Director of Creative, Palio

There’s no denying it: Video games are addictive. The question for us to answer as an advertising agency that’s revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing, is “How can we leverage the high engagement potential of gaming to help (and healthfully) promote our clients’ brands?”

Parenting articles are rife with information on how to wean kids off games and fanzines are chock full of cheat codes, Easter eggs and behind the scenes stories. Nielsen reports that 10% of U.S. Internet time is spent playing games, which has now overtaken email as the second most popular online activity. Last year on Pixels and Pills, I wrote about how video games have changed our culture and influence the way we live and play, learn and communicate, and how we are entertained.

The Pew Research Center reports that more than half of American adults age 18 and older (53%) play video games, with the computer being the most popular gaming device. Games are not passively consumed like television; they require interaction and proactive thinking. And, they can be used to improve health and health care. Here’s how:

Extend messages to the offline world Getting people to move more, think about what they’re eating and make smart choices has received prominent focus even from the White House. Washington-based Cascadian Farm provided a branded crop – blueberries – for Farmville players. More than fun, organizations striving to combat obesity can use games to deliver education and positively influence health whether on the farm or on the field.

Create new modes for learning For medical students, poor test results can be more than just personal failure – they can mean life or death for patients down the road. Learning via simulation provides the opportunity for nurses, doctors and other medical professionals to develop and refine skills without compromising the safety of real patients. Games can also be fun, educational and helpful for patients, enabling them to test and deepen their understanding of health issues or contribute to better health outcomes. For example, video games can be effective therapy for stroke survivors. Using a Wii can improve patient motor functions, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference last year. Research projects at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation include alternate reality games that teach substance abusers tactics to prevent real-world relapses and computer-based programs that use Wii technology to help Parkinson’s patients with balance.

Foster a sense of community Social networks provide group support for difficult tasks or emotional situations. While some individuals are comfortable attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or caregiver support groups, others miss out on these valuable connections due to fear being exposed or unsuccessful. Social interaction in health care games may be useful in encouraging healthy behaviors like healthy eating or reinforcing the importance of following a prescription regime or in connecting people in similar situations.

The world of health-focused games is growing, covering a wide range of activities from rehab and physical therapy, disease management, health and behavior change, bio-feedback, epidemiology, cognitive exercise and nutrition and health education. Patient-centric health games can go far in advancing many health care goals: reversing the epidemic of obesity, driving down tobacco and alcohol use, improving the quality of health care delivery or enhancing the performance of public health system.

While achieving good health is serious business, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Client/Agency Series: Collaboration

Marcelle Rockwell, VP, Account Director, Palio

Are you an only child who was raised on a desert island by wolves? No?

Then you’ve probably had to work with others over the course of your life to get things done. And, if you’re anything like the rest of us, you’ve had varying levels of success with the process. Sometimes it’s a joy. Sometimes it’s hard work. Most of the time, it’s somewhere in between.

In our professional world of creative marketing agencies and clients, we find that collaborative desires are fairly standard in many ways. Both sides have their ideal image of what collaboration would entail.

Clients would love to have ingenious ideas, perfectly complementary to corporate strategy, completely fleshed out with examples and practical details, falling well within the budget constraints, to be dropped in their lap ten minutes before they ask for them (and sometimes even before they ask).

Agencies would love to have clients who provide extensive detail into their broader brand strategies and long-term goals (which would be secure and unchanging), instant access to all of the stakeholders involved in the approval and execution processes, creative carte blanche unencumbered by regulatory requirements or legal stipulations, and unlimited budgets and flexible timelines to make their dreams reality.

Obviously, these scenarios are seldom the case. Which is why collaboration is key. Negotiation, compromise, diplomacy. And — you may begin to sense a theme across recent posts — communication.

If you can mutually communicate a realistic sense of what to expect before you begin your collaboration, your efforts forward will move that much more swiftly, smoothly, and successfully.

In any collaboration, though, you have to work around the constraints that a partnership poses:

  • More than one opinion is at play, and while everyone is working towards the same goal for the brand, there can be vastly different visions about how to reach that goal. Remembering that everyone does have that mutual goal goes a long way toward solving those disagreements
  • Your office is not Hogwarts, and no one you’re working with has magical powers. They will not always be able to instantly give you the answers you need; they will not always be able to remove the stumbling blocks that appear in your path; and they will, at some point or another, make a mistake. Being human does that to a person. Reflect, every now and then, on your shared humanity, and use it as an opportunity to build respect rather than frustration
  • We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: collaboration requires frequent updates—from both sides. You can work more successfully together when you’re both working toward the same goal on the same activities at the same time. The closer you can stay in synch, the more efficiently you’ll work and the better your results will be

What’s your favorite part of collaboration – the creative brainstorming… the thrill of success… the Happy Hour celebration?

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Healthcare Marketers

Paul Harrington, SVP, Creative Director, Palio

(This post also appeared as an article in the June 2011 issue of PM360 magazine.)

We’ve all heard of the Seven Deadly Sins (SDS). They’re ancient, appearing back in Proverbs as “six things the Lord hateth, and the seventh His soul detesteth.”

As we all work in healthcare marketing to one degree or another, I began to wonder: can we apply the SDS to the marketing profession, and can they corrupt our ideas and the creative process? And are there Seven Virtues that can preserve our promotional souls? As a lark, I’ve dug up the age-old SDS and taken a hard look in the mirror – and it ain’t pretty folks.

Lust: When crafting campaigns, do we choose beauty over reality, lust over honesty? Illness usually isn’t pretty, yet all too often we see attractive people walking on the beach with their fluffy dog, all while suffering from devastating irritable bowel syndrome. Really? Makes me almost want to get it. Almost.

The opposite of lust is chastity: we need to deny our self-indulgence and be honest about the conditions we treat. If your target patient is a type 2 diabetic, show an obese person, not a hot supermodel supermom.

Gluttony: Too often we try to shove every product attribute into an idea. Got a blank page? Fill it up! 60 seconds of airtime? Keep muttering claims and fair balance! But will a consumer savor this excess, or will the bloat get stuck in his throat?

The opposite of gluttony is temperance: the ad agency, client brand managers and other marketing partners need to set modest, reasonable expectations from the get-go. An ad simply can’t do everything, and force-feeding every product attribute into the creative is just plain gross.

Greed: Greed has a fragile relationship with creativity. Sure ad agencies want to create great work, but they also have to eat. And brand managers need to keep the lights on and turn a profit. It’s a fine line we dance, between genuinely trying to help people and appeasing Wall Street.

The opposite of greed is charity: sometimes we should do things that don’t earn a dime. Sponsor a charitable road race in your company’s therapeutic area. Ad agencies should do pro bono work — not to earn a trophy but to change the world.

Sloth: Ah laziness, our old friend: the easiest and safest path is the one most taken, and it leads to horrid marketing and creative. From delegating difficult marketing decisions to focus groups to the curse of cheap stock art to the 45-word headline that just restates the brief, we’ve all gotten fat and lazy. Pass the M&Ms.

The opposite of sloth is diligence: we must maintain high creative standards and resist the urge to take the easy way out. Be bold, be decisive: don’t let a room full of strangers behind a focus group mirror choose the safest, most vanilla approach for your creative campaign – leverage their insights and then make it smart, creative and outstanding.

Wrath: Seething, boiling anger and resentment: they’re easy to experience in this nutsy business. When management kills a good idea, when marketing is compromised by budget, when a colleague lets us down, we get steamed. Giving in to that wrath can feel quite delicious.

The opposite of wrath is patience: don’t let a grudge poison your marketing and creativity. Setbacks are part of our business, so learn to deal with them. Take a moment, suss it out, and release the frustration: stay the path and stick to it, and you will do better work.

Envy: Humans are naturally competitive, but marketers are downright bloodthirsty. We dread that someone’s more talented, more creative and more intelligent than we are, and we’ll be darned if we can’t prove that we’re better.

The opposite of envy is kindness: look, you can’t be the best every single day of the year. Sometimes, the competition wins. Don’t begrudge them their time in the sun. Learn from their success to fuel your own. Gird up for round two, and kill ’em with kindness, baby.

Pride: Behind our backs, we’re known by many other names: prima donna, stuffed shirt, pompous @ss, Jerkface McJerkerson… labels we’ve earned with our inflated pride and egos. We’re marketers, for crying out loud: of course we’re better than everyone else. We went to business school/ art school/medical school just to be the smartest person in the room!

The opposite of pride is humility: we could all use a slice of humble pie. Don’t introduce yourself with your title; just say you work on the team. Take a back seat once in a while. Entertain someone else’s opinion. Make it less about “me” and more about “we” and the work will improve.

OK, the sermon endeth. Just remember: if you put the work first and maintain your integrity and honesty, the Seven Deadly Sins won’t ruin your marketing creativity. I’m off to church now to pray for your healthcare souls… and my own.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

A World of Change


The world isn’t what it used to be. Neither is the marketplace. And changes to both are happening at a faster and faster pace. So what do you do when you need to anticipate the future and you don’t have Nostradamus around to help? You shore up your brand’s ability to adapt. Which means getting used to change because nothing’s ever going to be like it used to be.  One reason why can be summed up in two little words: social media. It hasn’t just created a shift, it’s caused an upheaval.

Just check out the facts: social media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web. It’s created a major shift in how we communicate with each other. Facebook reached 100 million users in less than a year. Facebook reached 100 million users in less than a year. Twitter has 140 million users who generate 340 million tweets a day. Social media is credited with everything from boosting brands to toppling governments.

For your brand, the message is obvious. You have to adapt to new ways to connect with your customers. Plus, you need to be where the new technology is to show people that your brand is relevant. Which isn’t as daunting as it sounds because Palio can help you navigate this new world.  We’re right at home in the flux of today’s fast-evolving communications ecosystem. We can show you how to talk to your customers via social media and provide other ideas on how to increase the size of your digital footprint.

At Palio, we’re not just on top of technological innovations, we’re building them. We have a department devoted to digital content creation, including Web and app development, video production, and interactive programs. In fact, all our brand teams “think” digitally, so any one of them is capable of creating a new idea that can take your brand places it’s never been before. Add to that our deep history in healthcare marketing and pharmaceutical advertising – a level of expertise few others can match – and you have an agency that can lead you past what’s happening now, and through what’s ahead, without flinching.

Since you’re already on our site, now is a perfect time to check out some of our other posts to see what we’re thinking. Then, if you want to know more, call Mike Myers at 518.584.8924. He’s not Nostradamus, but he can tell you how your brand will have a brighter future if it links up with Palio.

© 2011 Palio.com