Role of humor in the design of medical and pharmaceutical communication, Marketing & Advertising News, AND BrandEquity
By Cherojit Goswami
The use of humor in healthcare settings is often referred to as “therapeutic humor”. Therapeutic humor does not change a clinical outcome, but helps patients better navigate the disease and recovery processes. Studies suggest that humor can facilitate healing in the body.
Healthcare providers (PHS) often interact with patients at a time when they are most vulnerable. Using humor effectively with patients requires tact and sensitivity. Often times, healthcare professionals laugh at themselves and let patients laugh with them. This helps foster confidence and an atmosphere of comfort.
For patients, humor helps them forget about suffering. For healthcare professionals, humor is a form of self-management and a doorway to a deeper connection with colleagues and patients.
However, the greatest and least used potential of humor lies in the design of communication. Humor can be a great asset for brands to create differentiation and a positive association with patients and healthcare professionals.
Here are 4 lessons learned from brands that have successfully used humor-based medical communication:
Razo: humor helps build deep bonds
Many brands don’t recognize that doctors are human too. Think about it, 30 patients, 20 reps and an average of 100 brands to treat, every day! While an HCP is trained to rise above all emotions, he too needs a break, needs to laugh and chat and sometimes to share a cup of coffee with his colleagues, to listen. her favorite music and maybe even watching a movie. He too identifies with human truths like all of us. This is what a brand can use to build deeper connections with it.
Dr. Reddy’s Razo did just that. Razo, a prescription-only acidity drug, wanted to communicate its effectiveness to healthcare professionals. But instead of distributing purely scientific content, the brand decided to tell science through stories. A film series titled Razo Sure Shorts has been created showing two fictional doctors, Dr Singh and Dr Pillai. These doctors were friends and colleagues who literally grew up together discussing Razo’s cases while chatting and going about their life as a doctor. Each video covered a salient aspect of Razo’s clinical effectiveness.
The duo’s camaraderie and jokes resonated in the lives of doctors. The amount of time spent in the clinic with MRs fell from a few seconds to almost 6 minutes, which drastically increased prescriptions. Soon we got the doctor’s request for more stories and the campaign continued for 4 seasons as a medical series, exploring several aspects of doctors’ lives like in hospital, medical school, during a trip to the mountains, etc. with Razo as a constant and efficient trusted companion.
Enterogermina: Humor lowers psychological barriers
Medical and pharmaceutical communications generally show a solution to a problem and often rely on fear to highlight the problem. However, this can sometimes put consumers off. Also, when everyone is talking about issues, it becomes a blind spot and consumers start to filter nasty messages. Talking about the subject in a lighter vein helps stand out from the clutter, alleviates fear, and lowers people’s psychological defenses, making them more receptive to the message.
Diarrhea is a common but serious condition in young children. Most mothers know that if they are not treated immediately, the situation can get worse very quickly. Sanofi’s Enterogermina, switching from a prescription drug to an OTC, chose a lighter tone of voice. The “Happy tummies make happy mummies” campaign was based on an idea that preventing children from experimenting with food prevents them from learning, so let them explore; meanwhile in case of diarrhea manage with Enterogermina.
The main TVC featured a hummable rap capturing the journey of the kid eating a lot of street food and having a stomachache, then a confident mum entering with Enterogermina as ammunition to fight her son’s diarrhea causing bad bacteria. Even the hard-to-pronounce name has been turned into a reminder jingle among kids and mothers, giving the whole campaign a feel-good factor instead of being very serious and disease-focused.
The Urology Group: Humor Can Be An Icebreaker
Health matters are personal and there is often resistance to speaking or talking about certain topics. Using humor helps in situations like these, however, it is important to have empathy while creating such communication. On the other hand, humor can often help draw attention to topics that are not easily or fluently spoken about.
The urology group’s prostate cancer campaign used witty humor to subtly encourage men to attend their annual prostate screening. The messages were designed to allay the fear associated with prostate screenings and provide ease of prostate cancer awareness rather than the usual fear that cancer awareness communication employs.
NHS: Humor is a great equalizer
No matter where you are in the world, there’s a good chance you’ll be smiling if you tell a good joke. Health care is a universal human need and, therefore, the issues that health care communication addresses are also global in nature. Humor helps transcend barriers of language, gender, class, and racial prejudice.
The UK’s National Health Services (NHS) commissioned a comedy film that poked fun at overreactions to minor ailments to encourage more people to rely on their pharmacist before seeing their GP.
Drawing inspiration from the over-the-top and over-the-top reactions of the movies, the movie “Help Us, Help You – Get It Seen To” featured various genres of movies – horror, romcom, and action – as a way to ask people not to overreact. excessively and to raise awareness of the availability of free, private and confidential consultations offered by street chemists. A simple and humorous way to offer a solution to small health problems thus reducing the burden on already overworked primary care physicians.
Humor helps build deep bonds
Humor lowers psychological barriers
Humor can be used as an icebreaker
Humor is a great equalizer
Humor is a powerful emotion. This can greatly benefit healthcare and pharmaceutical communication by creating deeper connections and tangible differentiation. It can solve many communication problems and at the same time make everyone smile.
So, the next time you’re working on a healthcare assignment, try putting it with a little humor. Its role in healing can never be underestimated. And if you’re looking for more inspiration, watch Patch Adams in action over the weekend or maybe closer to you, Munna Bhai MBBS Remember humor is a powerful coping tool that doesn’t have to be be overlooked as a mechanism for building stronger bonds.
Keep smiling, keep spreading it.
The author is Vice President of Ogilvy Health and Wellness. The opinions expressed are personal.
Watch BE + with Ambi Parameswaran: conversation with industry leaders like Jasneet Bachal, Harish Narayanan, Deepali Naair, Siddhesh Joglekar and more