The judges were impressed by the fact that, in a highly-regulated vertical, Ferring Pharmaceuticals managed to deliver a fresh, relevant and sensitively-delivered influencer activation, which not only looked to drive awareness of a key issue, but leveraged a community of influencers for insights. Their approach at building long-term relationships reflected a best-in-class approach to influencer management and it’s a great example of how influencer marketing can deliver value beyond sales.

Mark of Excellence:

  • MSL and Renault
    #BehindCarDoors

This entry deserved a Mark of Excellence for its best-in-class use of influencers that resonated with the brand and their target audience. This campaign put Renault at the heart of the family time conversation over a sustained 12 month period, and produced highly relatable and resonant content. The influencers were a perfect fit for the campaign’s overall objectives.

Finalists:

  • 3 Monkeys Zeno and Hologic
    Getting Some? Get Tested
  • FleishmanHillard Fishburn and Samsung
    Mobile Couture for Samsung Galaxy Note9
  • Ketchum and Samsung UK
    #MakeChange with Samsung
  • Tin Man and The Institution of Engineering and Technology
    The Sound of Engineering

Winner entry:

Brief and objectives:

Ferring Pharmaceuticals has been developing treatments for women and babies for over 50 years and aims to be the world-leading, most trusted healthcare company in reproductive medicine and women’s health. Ferring recognised it was little known within the trying to conceive (TTC) community – a passionate and engaged online community who are breaking the silence and stigma of infertility to provide comfort and support to those going through similar issues.

Ferring partnered with Chandler Chicco Agency (CCA) to help build its awareness and engagement levels with this community in Europe. Ferring wanted to:

  • Build relationships with influential TTC bloggers
  • Gain insights that could help shape future comms
  • Generate content that would answer an unmet need
  • Increase social media coverage
  • Up engagement levels across Ferring social channels.

The idea, research and planning:

It’s been 40 years since the birth of the first ‘test tube’ baby, conceived through IVF. Today, it’s estimated that infertility affects one in six heterosexual couples but fertility treatment is not a sure-fire route to building a family: success levels are just under one third and the process can be physically, emotionally and financially demanding, with access to treatment varying greatly across Europe. With so many hurdles to address, and such emotive subject matter, it’s no wonder people facing fertility issues turn to the internet for information and support.

By documenting their fertility journeys, providing support for others, and working to break the stigma of IVF, established bloggers have gained significant and engaged communities of followers, inspired by their honesty and willingness to discuss the “taboo” topic. It was clear that if Ferring wanted to reach its target TTC audience, it would need to do so via these bloggers.

The answer – to host an inaugural Fertility Blogger Summit.

Strategy, tactics, creativity and innovation:

Ferring and CCA recognised that Ferring had:

  • Historically focused on communicating the science of IVF, not the real-life impact of fertility issues
  • No relationships with notable fertility bloggers
  • A number of new social media channels, but minimal fertility-related content to share
  • An opportunity to start meaningful conversations using the new #ProjectFamily campaign concept Ferring and CCA therefore conducted research to identify bloggers active on key channels, had good engagement levels and produced meaningful content.

In order to capture insights from a range of different perspectives, same-sex couples, men, and people who had been unsuccessful in conceiving were actively sought, and those identified were invited to attend a European IVF Blogger Summit.

Delivery:

The European IVF Blogger Summit was held in London, due to its central location and because the Science Museum was hosting an exhibition to mark 40 years of IVF.

Bloggers attended pre-event activities (including a visit to the museum) to help them bond and feel comfortable enough to open up about their journeys in each other’s company. Couples who brought children along were offered childcare, a breastfeeding zone was provided, and all food catered to fertility-related diets. Set activities were devised to help uncover insights and to provide material (videos, photos and hand-illustrated content) for online dissemination by the bloggers, and across Ferring channels.

Ample time was worked into the schedule to ensure the Ferring team had opportunity to genuinely connect with their guests, and listen to their individual experiences.

Ethical considerations, including how the campaign has abided by the CIPR Code of Conduct, ASA Regulations, the CAP Code and Google guidelines:

The activity was planned and executed in line with the CIPR Code of Conduct but, as Ferring is a pharmaceutical company, everything also had to comply with the strict codes of practice governing the industry and supported by the statutory role of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Measurement and evaluation, including the outcomes achieved via organic and paid-for activity:

The Summit was attended by 10 key influencers (against a target of eight) from the UK, Sweden and Germany, and successfully generated:

  • 24 key insights (against a target of eight) surrounding the fertility experience, reasons for sharing online, hopes for the future, and ways of working collaboratively
  • A diverse and relatable multimedia content package – including one mural illustration, 17 individual illustrations, a time-lapse mural video, seven video interviews in English and four in local languages – for use on social media and external communications
  • 17 original social media posts (against a target of 10), with a potential reach of 10,000, all of which were positive in tone
  • An average of 53 engagements per post (against a target of 10) across Ferring social channels.

Budget and campaign impact, including payments such as gifts and/or experiences in-kind, and influencer expenses:

The budget was £60,000, including planning, material development, logistics and summary. Costs included a videographer, photographer, babysitters, catering, venue hire and accommodation. Influencer expenses and compensation were paid by Ferring, with compensation at £500 per person (£5,000 total). Campaign outputs, including video editing and social media planning cost an additional £25,000.

Immediate impacts:

In a survey carried out with attendees, only 13% were aware of Ferring before the Summit, with those who were aware saying they thought Ferring was “just another pharma company” or “large faceless pharma.”

Perceptions changed significantly post-Summit:

  • “Friendly and genuine company who have started to understand the huge opportunity on the table: giving back to the people who use the drugs”
  • “Ferring cares about the TTC community and wants to be very actively involved”
  • “Inspiring, working hard to share the experiences and personalise the industry more”
  • “Great company that takes responsibility in society”.

Further, following the event, 100% of attendees said they were open to future collaboration with Ferring and 100% had a positive perception of the company.

Longer term benefits:

Materials developed as a result of the Summit have been shared with the influencers, and Ferring and CCA are now in the process of developing a social media calendar that addresses the gaps in awareness, education and support highlighted at the event.

Ferring continues to cement relationships with the bloggers and recently sponsored a table (and were the only pharmaceutical company in attendance) at the IVF Babble Pineapple Ball – an event organised by two of the bloggers.

The company is also providing a grant to support a fertility event in March, hosted by another TTC blogger, and publicly backs #scream4IVF, an IVF Babble initiative.