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Big Canadian Pharma Hoping to Make Video go ‘Viral’

Many Canadian companies donate to charitable organizations.  They write a cheque, have a press release with a photo of key people from both organizations holding a mega-sized cheque, and oftentimes the promotion fizzles from that point on.

Pfizer Canada Inc. is taking a unique approach in ensuring that its sponsorship of Canada’s Paralympics Team gets noticed by Canadians, all while promoting their MoreThanMedication.ca website.  Last week, Pfizer Canada posted a video honouring Canada’s Paralympics Team on their MoreThanMedication.ca website, which features the strength and passion of Team Canada sledge hockey player Todd Nicholson.

The objective is to make the video go ‘viral’ and get viewed by as many Canadians as possible in order to raise awareness about the Paralympics taking place in Vancouver, and the determination and passion of the Paralympics athletes.  Viewers of the video are encouraged to share it with their friends and networks either via FaceBook, Twitter, Digg, Delicious, or even by e-mail.  Everytime they do so, Pfizer donates $5.00 (Cdn) to the Canadian Paralympics Team, up to a maximum of $50,000 (Cdn).

Here is the statement that automatically appeared on my Twitter and FaceBook accounts when I clicked on the share button.  Notice that there is no mention of Pfizer or of the $5 donation.  Personally, I believe a mention of the donation by Pfizer would have peaked more people’s interest and would have increased the number of views;

I also saved the video on Delicious and gave it the thumbs up on Digg, but so far it appears that only two people have done so on these particular networks.

In order to reach its goal of $50,000, the video needs to be shared 10,000 times.   By early Monday morning, March 14th, approximately an entire week after having launched the video, the digital counter on the MoreThanMedication.ca website showed that Pfizer had raised a total of $20,400 via the sharing of the video so far, which equates to 4,080 views.

Note that this is the number of views, not the number of unique viewers.  For example, I shared the video via all 5 methods that were made available (Twitter, FaceBook, Delicious, Digg and e-mail), which counts as 5 views.  But one also needs to consider that it is possible that more people viewed the video and shared it and that these ‘shares’ did not get counted for the donation. For example, if somebody shared the video by retweeting or copying and pasting the statement into their profiles without going directly through the MoreThanMedication.ca website, these ‘shares’ would not be counted.  This is because Pfizer is monitoring the number of ‘shares’ via their internal web analytics.

Although the campaign is meant to raise awareness within the Canadian population, viewers from other countries are not prevented from sharing the video and contributing to the donation per view.

After the campaign is completed, it would be interesting to get a breakdown of the percentage of viewers who shared the video link via e-mail, FaceBook, Twitter, Digg and Delicious.  My guess is that e-mail and FaceBook will be the two predominant methods of sharing of the video.  Here are some statistics to support my rationale;

1) Despite the fact that the share of Canadian Internet visits surpassed e-mail in April 2009 (HitWise, May 2009, chart below), e-mail is still ranked in 4th position.

2) The most popular social network with Canadians is FaceBook.  Canadians have low awareness of Digg and Delicious, and appear to minimally use these social bookmarking networks (CNW Group and Leger Marketing, Social Media Reality Check, April 2009, chart below).

What about YouTube?

So far, I have been unsuccessful in finding the Paralympics video by Pfizer on YouTube.  It would have been interesting to see how many views the video could have had via YouTube, especially considering that YouTube is the 2nd most used social network by Canadians according to the CNW Group and Leger Marketing study.  My gut tells me that this medium was intentionally not included because Pfizer Canada wants Canadians to visit the MoreThanMedication.ca website, and posting the video on YouTube may have diluted this particular objective.  However, I do believe that the video would have more viral ability if it were made available on a Pfizer Canada channel on YouTube.  What are your thoughts on this?

A purely Canadian initiative:

Pfizer Canada’s MoreThanMedication.ca website is a purely Canadian campaign, as is the video honouring Canada’s Paralympics Team.

Canadian regulatory guidelines:

The campaign appears to be fully within the Canadian regulatory guidelines as there do not appear to be any product mentions on either the website or the videos.

Pfizer Canada has tested social media before:

Some of you may recall that Pfizer tested the social media environment last year with their “Be Brave” campaign.  This was another campaign devised to raise funds for another charitable organization, Starlight Children’s Foundation.  The only sharing option at the time appears to have been e-mail. According to the information that I found on their MoreThanMedication.ca website, it appears as though they reached their objective of raising $50,000 via the sharing of this particular video.

Search “Be Brave Pfizer” in YouTube, and you will find that the “Be Brave” video that was posted on the CNW Group channel garned 22,230 views over the past year, which ranks it as the 2nd most watched YouTube video on the CNW Group channel.


Many thanks to Veronica Piacek, Director Consumer Communications & Relations at Pfizer Canada, for taking the time to share her insights with me regarding this Pfizer social media campaign.

Congratulations to the Pfizer Canada team, and their suppliers who have assisted them with the video in honour of the Canadian Paralympics Team;  Klick Communications (morethanmedication.ca website), Zig Toronto (video creation) and Strategic Objectives (PR agency).  And most of all, best wishes in making the Canada’s Paralympics Team video a viral success and raising $50,000.


What do you think of this Canadian pharma social media example?  What would you do the same, what would you do differently?  There is no judgement here, it is just a discussion so that we can learn from one another.

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3 Responses

  1. […] hoping to make video go viral in support of Canada’s #Paralympics Team. Campaign info here: http://tinyurl.com/ylm3tqd #in Interesting! Open-sourcing a diagnosis – http://thezupdate.tumblr.com/ #hcsm #rnchat RT […]

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by NatBourre: #Pfizer Canada hoping to make video go viral in support of Canada’s #Paralympics Team. Campaign info here: http://tinyurl.com/ylm3tqd #in…

  3. […] A full analysis of the marketing approach can be found on Marketing4Health […]

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