The Dispensary – Issue 4

Virgo Health selects the news items and campaigns which have caught our attention in the media and which we believe are relevant to healthcare communications.

The Power of Artificial Intelligence

Theresa May has set targets for a “whole new industry around AI-in-healthcare” and pledged millions to artificial intelligence (AI) research around early-stage detection of cancer in the UK. The Prime Minister believes that diagnosis in the UK can be transformed by AI which will reduce avoidable deaths through early diagnosis and analysing great quantities of data quickly and with a higher degree of accuracy. She claimed that AI has the potential to be a “new weapon” to fight cancer, with experts suggesting it can reduce UK cancer deaths by 10% in 15 years. You can read more in the Financial Times and BBC News. Although there are a number of challenges to address – including creating the right infrastructure within the health service – this is an extremely exciting time for companies that are involved or looking to be involved with AI in the healthcare sector.

The power of AI has also been recognised recently in the role it can play in measuring emotions. Tech company Realeyes uses webcams and computer vision technology to measure how people feel as they watch online content. This enables brands to measure the impact of their marketing through the emotions their campaigns elicit. From this, content and campaigns can be tailored to target the right audiences. An example is Realeyes partnership with TUI, where a facial-reading machine helped to determine ideal holiday destinations based on subconscious micro-expressions. The company recently raised around £12m in funding to further innovate its technology. Read More…

Cancer Fight not Right

Last week saw huge discussion around the language used to describe cancer in light of the Macmillan report ‘Missed Opportunities’, published 15 May. The report warned that terms such as ‘battle’ ensue a pressure to be upbeat and in turn are preventing honest conversations about end of life care, leaving many with little support in their last days. A striking 28% of patients admitted they find it hard to be open because they must be seen as fighters, with a similar amount adding they felt ‘guilty’ if they did not stay positive about their disease. Many offered their opinions on social media with some praising the term whilst others branded it ‘a barrier’ or ‘disempowering’. One question on everyone’s lips however is whether we need to change the way we speak out cancer.  Is it time for a cultural shift? Check it out…

 

Viagra makes TV debut

Pfizer Consumer Healthcare launched the UK’s first television advert for Viagra last week on channel 4, marking the first time a medicine advertising the alleviation of erectile dysfunction has been aired. In a truly playful nature, the 30 second commercial is set to 1975 track ‘Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)’ by Steve Harley and features a man who is inspired to dance after Viagra Connect restores intimacy with his partner. With creative campaigns starting to emerge around men’s health and bridging the realms of taboo, it is hoped that more men will seek medical solutions. It will be particularly interesting to observe its effects as the impact is likely to be both social and financial, with marked potential for Pfizer’s branding. Aired at 11:15pm during ‘Mo Salah: A Football Fairy Tale’, it is clear that Pfizer want to candidly intercept and challenge conceptions of masculinity, and this may act as a template to demonstrate the successful transition from prescription to OTC medicine. Take a look…

Velux partners with UniLad to raise awareness of indoor pollution

Velux has teamed up with UniLad to educate people on the dangers of indoor air pollution. With a survey revealing that the average person spends 90% of their day indoors, this is something we all need to wise up to.  While the dangers of rising outdoor are fairly well documented and discussed, the shocking truth is that our homes can be up to five times as polluted as outdoors.  Pollutants such as building materials, cleaning products, furniture, plastics, and toys just add to the toxic overflow. Then add human activities such as cooking, burning candles, drying clothes indoors, coughing and sneezing, and of course aerosols – deodorants, hairsprays, air fresheners…

This very clever partnership has positioned Velux as an ambassador for creating more fresh air in homes.  As well as encouraging people to get outdoors more, it is urging people to open their windows when they are indoors, as much as possible – to help reduced the pollution levels.  It’s a great example of a brand uncovering a little-discussed topic to promote its products and ethos and using a popular influencer to reach out to the right audiences. Read more…