How to Market the Measles

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Who would have ever thought profit driven brands and advertisers would seem more noble than our family doctors and the scientific community?

Well that’s just what’s happening as this vaccination debate unfolds.

In everyday consumer marketing, the veil of non-transparency has been lifted on everything from cleaning products to food. And it didn’t just happen because of the advent of social media. It has been happening around kitchen tables for generations in the form of curiosity of what we’re really “consuming.”

Kitchen table curiosity led to questions, which, when buried in the customer call center, ignored or responded to with a form letter, led to mistrust.

Enter Social Media: kitchen tables turned into global pulpits and a whole new world of marketing was born, led by a “noble purpose” and supported by full transparency. Consumer curiosity made our world a better place by holding our industries to a higher standard.

So, let’s take a journey back in time ….

Back in the day, consumers had to “consume” whatever marketers dished out. Because back then, Brands were the authority and the consumers didn’t have the data or the facts. TRUST was the alchemy that held the whole thing together.

As long as Brands controlled the media and the conversation, there was no room for mistrust. Any consumer dissent was clearly from a fringe fanatic. Consumers just shouldn’t worry their little heads about things like that. The product is from a well-known company of course!

Pro-vaccine or not, the issue isn’t science or data: the issue is product trust. What started as a noble purpose has evolved to vaccines and drugs being rolled out like Hallmark holidays, creating “needs” and then solving for them.

The early scares, real or not, opened questions; the worms of curiosity. Why are there so many now? What’s in this stuff anyway? Do our kids need three times the number of vaccines as we got? Are they ALL necessary? Should we be giving so many at once?

And, just like the 1950’s, out roll the big pedigrees and authorities to silence and shame anyone asking these questions. And for now, these consumers will retreat into their small circles, until one day, they’re not so small anymore and come out with a vengeance, forcing the industry to open the kimono.

This debate isn’t about Measles. It’s about trust. As brands, we had to face our consumers head on. And we were forced to do better. Big pharma: you can run and hide. But in time, you will be hunted down.

Nicole Ertas is the founder of Free-Range Brands, a revolutionary branding model for breakthrough brand engagement in the post-digital world.

Follow on Nicole on Twitter @freerangebrands.

#measles, #vaccines, #bigpharma, #vaccinations

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