Achievements in Medtech Marketing 13159

Award-winning medical device campaigns reflect the innovation of the products they highlight.

Steve Halasey

September 1, 2008

7 Min Read
Achievements in Medtech Marketing


The International Awards of Excellence (In-Awe) program, put on by the Healthcare Communication & Marketing Association Inc. (HCMA; Mt. Royal, NJ), is designed to recognize outstanding strategically driven creative work in healthcare marketing. The awards program was originally started in 1985 by the Medical Marketing Association, which at the beginning of 2008 merged with the Healthcare Marketing and Communications Council and the Midwest Healthcare Marketing Association to form a single national entity serving a membership of more than 2000 medical marketers.

"In-Awe awards submissions set a new record in 2008," says Mark S. Perlotto, executive vice president and managing director at Adair Greene McCann (Atlanta) and HCMA recognition committee chair. "When all the entries were in, 148 companies submitted a total of 938 entries across 65 categories into this year's competition—a 15% increase over 2007."


At the first annual meeting of the Healthcare Communication and Marketing Association (HCMA), Monica Noce, Kanarek, executive vice president for creative Donohoe Purohit Miller (Chicago), accepts the agency's silver award in the 2008 International Awards of Excellence (In-Awe) program from Mark S. Perlotto, executive vice president and managing director at Adair Greene McCann (Atlanta) and HCMA recognition committee chair.

Donohoe won the award for its creation of the branding logo for the HERmark breast cancer assay by Monogram Biosciences Inc. (South San Francisco, CA). The first assay to make use of the company's VeraTag technology platform, the HERmark assay can identify metastatic breast cancer patients who are most likely to respond to specific treatments. Given many options, HERmark assays help facilitate an oncologist's treatment choice. This is where the idea behind the dots and the highlighted 'selection' was born.

The In-Awe competition is one of the largest competitions in the world of healthcare marketing, with more than 900 entries submitted each year. The entries represent more than 160 companies operating in a wide range of healthcare disciplines, including medical devices, pharmaceuticals, biotech, and healthcare services. Entries are judged by a panel of industry experts on both strategy and results, not just the visual creative appeal of the work.

"This year's panel of 39 judges represented all corners of the healthcare marketing world," says Perlotto. "Representatives from agencies and manufacturers, as well as marketing and media consultants, brought their expertise to select the best work in medical marketing from the past year. From all the submissions, those judges selected 147 winners they deemed worthy of either a gold, silver, or bronze In-Awe award for 2008."

This year's awards were presented to winners during a ceremony at HCMA's inaugural annual conference, held in Dallas this past June. "The 65 In-Awe categories for 2008 span the spectrum of healthcare marketing to include advertising, medical education, print, digital, and online initiatives, as well as live activities such as conventions and trade shows," says Perlotto. "What makes In-Awe unique among industry award competitions is its focus on marketing strategy and results as well as creative execution as parts of the evaluation criteria. The winners of an In-Awe award are much more than just pretty pictures."

In this article, MX highlights the challenges, strategies, and execution behind some of this year's winning medical device campaigns.

Journey Knee campaign
Archer/Malmo Inc.
for Smith & Nephew


At the Philadelphia Flower Show launch of the In-Awe winning Journey Knee campaign by Archer/Malmo Inc. for Smith & Nephew, yoga and fitness experts demonstrated simple excercises that knee pain sufferers could do to minimize pain and help increase or maintain mobility.

Marketing agency Archer/Malmo Inc. (Memphis) was recognized in this year's In-Awe competition for its work on the Journey Knee consumer public relations campaign for Smith & Nephew (London).

Smith & Nephew's Journey Knee was uniquely designed for a younger target audience—baby boomers. The consumer public relations campaign needed to address not only the physical pain boomers feel from knee ailments, but also the emotional and mental pain. They needed to know the Journey Knee was specifically and uniquely designed to get younger patients back to the activities they love.

The campaign aimed to create an effective communication stream that maximized the conversion of inquiries to leads—those who obtained contact information for a specific Journey surgeon.

In launching the Journey Knee campaign, Smith & Nephew broke new ground by becoming the first medical device company to sponsor the Philadelphia Flower Show. The event sponsorship gave the com­pany the opportunity for one-on-one engagement with target consumers—women aged 45 to 65 living with osteoarthritis. This boosted local lead conversion from 40 to 64%. The campaign used media relations surrounding the flower show and in additional key markets to penetrate 58 markets and garner 2.5 million impressions.

The campaign won a gold In-Awe award in the category of public relations, consumer.

VAC GranuFoam Silver Dressing
HC&B Healthcare Communications
for Kinetic Concepts Inc.


Members of the team from HC&B Healthcare Communications who created the In-Awe winning campaign for Kinetic Concepts Inc. (from left): Harrison Saunders, creative director; Amy Smith, account director; and Dave Walker, creative director.

One year after Kinetic Concepts Inc. (KCI; San Antonio, TX) launched a new dressing technology—the VAC GranuFoam Silver dressing—for its market-leading vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) therapy system for advanced wound care, the company engaged HC&B Healthcare Communications to develop a direct-mail campaign that would build product awareness and encourage sales.

The creative challenge for HC&B was to combine existing knowledge into a powerful message that, like the product itself, delivered more than the sum of its parts. Working with HC&B, KCI had already established uncommonly high awareness of VAC therapy among its target audiences. In addition, the use of ionic silver therapy was not new in wound care. Although clinicians were familiar with both VAC and silver therapies, however, they didn't know that the two could be combined in the same system for optimal outcomes. HC&B's strategy was to show that combining VAC therapy with ionic silver therapy renders both therapies more effective.

To demonstrate the unique mechanism by which ionic silver is infused into the pores of the GranuFoam dressing, HC&B created an interactive direct-mail piece with movable parts that delivered a simple and straightforward message: KCI has advanced silver therapy by combining it with an already powerful technology that is known and trusted—VAC therapy.

The results speak for themselves. After the launch of the print ad campaign, sales of VAC GranuFoam Silver jumped 48% from their baseline. Today, VAC GranuFoam Silver makes up 15% of all GranuFoam sales in the acute-care market.

The campaign won a bronze In-Awe award in the category of direct-mail print campaigns.

All About U
Seidler Bernstein
for Boston Scientific


Members of the Seidler Bernstein team who created the In-Awe winning campaign for Boston Scientific Urology (from left): Rob Kinslow, vice president of strategic communications; Kathie Coe Renner, vice president and executive creative director; Alla Litovchenko, associate creative director for art; and Tod Brubaker, associate creative director for copy.

Boston Scientific is a leader in the market for less-invasive medical devices. As part of a strategy to strengthen its relationship with the urology community, the company joined forces with Seidler Bernstein to create a highly targeted multidisciplinary campaign.

The challenge was to convince urologists that Boston Scientific shared their interests and goals, and was committed to helping them be successful. Urologists can be an es­pecially skeptical audience. The work is not glamorous, their caseloads are enormous, and many feel under­appreciated.

Seidler Bernstein's strategy was to emphasize the value that Boston Scientific brings to the urology market beyond its innovative, high-quality products. When the creative team noticed that a stent used for kidney stone removal looked exactly like a heart, the "We (heart) Urologists" ad was born.

But to convince this wary audience, the team members at Seidler Bernstein knew they had to do more than create a vibrant, attention-grabbing ad. They had to back it up with a comprehensive program of services and support to help urologists succeed in the areas they care about most: their patients, practices, and futures. The program, called "All About U," included an ad, mailer, sales rep training and trade show materials, and a logo. It launched at the American Urological Association trade show, where it was well received by urologists. In fact, there was a stronger than expected demand for "We (heart) Urologist" buttons and other branded giveaways.

The campaign won a silver In-Awe award in the category of convention-trade show-exhibit traffic builders.

Copyright ©2008 MX

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