What's New In Health Care Advertising?

Online fantasy sports leagues aren't just a game anymore -- they're a platform for advertisers.

CPRi Communications, a healthcare marketing firm, recently launched the Healthcare Fantasy Sports League, which will provide pharmaceutical and other health care advertisers the opportunity to sponsor the leagues and reach doctors, who will be invited to play in them.

"They can sponsor the portals and get their brands in the face of the user every time they log on, from the registration page to checking the stats of their players," says Andrew Weissberg, CPRi founder. In fantasy sports leagues, players create their own teams, play games and compile statistics on the players. According to Weissberg, they will see advertising images every step of the way. "It's a combination of banners and pop ups that link to specialty content pages," he says. Email surveys will also be used. Players will be able to download product sample coupons or submit requests for samples and get the chance to win incentives, such as World Series tickets, which the advertisers will offer.

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Five sports leagues will be available for sponsorship, including baseball, basketball, football, golf and hockey. One league for dermatologists is running now. Weissberg says there is a universe of 5,000 dermatologists, with ten percent participating in the league in less than four weeks. He says the league is sponsored, but was unwilling to name the sponsor or allow MediaDailyNews to contact it.

At first there will be single sponsors for each league although Weissberg says the company will also build portals for multiple sponsors.

Much has been written about pharmaceutical advertising, with loosening restrictions on television ads providing pharmaceutical companies with a new opportunity. But pharmaceutical companies must also advertise to doctors, which is where the fantasy sports league comes in. Weissberg calls it an extension of e-detailing, an online platform that uses question and answer sessions to inform doctors about new drugs and distribute free samples. "Our program goes beyond e-detailing because it's longer lasting, physicians will be with us for six months for a single season. They're on the site two times a day for over 10 minutes per shot."

Sales reps in the pharmaceutical industry struggle to meet with doctors, because they're often too busy. "They need alternative ways to get in front of doctors," Weissberg says. "There hasn't been a venue that has given them the opportunity. Research has proven that doctors are interested in entertainment online and fantasy leagues lock them in for season after season."

As for cost, Weissberg says there is a baseline fee to develop a portal and customize it to the advertiser's needs. He said advertisers would be able to develop "six figure programs."

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