Health, Data and Creativity: A Match for Our Times

Talking about opportunities during a time of social upheaval and a raging pandemic seems unseemly. At best.   

But recent events have made some truths abundantly clear. Despite the last four years of an increasingly “me-first” America, when it comes to protecting our health, our collective health, we’re in this together. The barista’s well-being is connected to his guitar teacher, her mother and the mother’s preacher and his congregation.  

Anybody must take care of everybody.  

And while the pandemic wasn’t the cause of the recent strife, it was the catalyst. Now nothing remains the same. The way we behave towards each other, the surfaces we touch, the things we ingest and do to stay healthy have all been irrevocably altered. 

And this new reality is highlighting an overlooked area in the health care chain: OTC brands. 

Far from being self-serving, OTC brands should seize this moment and get behind a healthy-living message: Protect your health and, by extension, the health of others. This isn’t opportunistic; it’s obligatory.  



Brands need to remain relevant and contemporary, but when a cosmetic laser center links its ads to pandemic fatigue — and trust me, one has — it reeks of disingenuousness. When the makers of antibacterial soaps, pain relievers, decongestants, sleeping aids, and other OTC products bolstering worn-down consumers confront the pandemic head on, it has, if done well, the chance to be heartfelt. 

To find relevant, authentic, and appropriate messages to put out in the world, traditional creatives must take a seat at the table alongside technologists and data scientists. While creatives and strategists tend to identify the insights to look for to propel a brand forth, it’s the data scientists who are the experts at mining the data to find them. 

We’ve all heard about “big data,” but it’s the precision of “little data” that will help brands distinguish themselves, especially during this economic downturn. And it will make your agency indispensable to your brand partner struggling to boost market share and its position over competitors. 

By using tools that uncover accurate, timely information, and allowing those metrics to percolate around in the minds of data-driven creatives, agencies can unearth blind spots and discover opportunities that brands might never have known existed.  

Exhibit A: Dramamine. 

When my agency was hired by Dramamine – the brand in the Prestige Consumer Healthcare portfolio famous for combatting nausea caused by motion sickness – we quickly learned that the company was blind to its competitive landscape and unaware it had a fierce army of Millennial moms who relied on Dramamine. 

As our creative strategists scraped and sifted through targeted listening data, they unearthed some really smart insights that soon led to a tongue-firmly-in-cheek influencer campaign: sending moms around the world trying to get them sick. Turns out, Dramamine is very effective, and the resulting support for the brand showed it. 

Instead of paying influencers to promote the brand, we helped Dramamine capitalize on unwavering brand loyalty by sending moms on experiences they enjoyed – with Dramamine in hand, of course – that cost the brand significantly less than more traditional campaigns. Moms organically shared pictures of nauseous-free travelers on boats, planes, trains, and automobiles from Iceland to Thailand. Engagement was off the charts thanks to the endorsement of truly happy moms across the globe. And the client was thrilled as the engagement drove more than 17 million engagements at an impossibly low cost. 

Millennial moms value experience over cash. By paying for journeys that mothers might not have been able to embark on by themselves, they rewarded Dramamine with more ROI than typical social influencers ever could. 

By collecting data with a purpose and looking at it from a creative perspective, we were able to uncover seemingly small insights that had massive impact. 

It’s a new world out there. We are not the same people we were nearly two years ago when we embarked on the Dramamine mom adventures. Customers and consumption habits have changed, courtesy of COVID. However, as long as creative data savants are in the center of the marketing mix with agency leaders crafting timely and relevant messages, brands will be able to organically capitalize on their promise. 

Offering experiences for Dramamine would be off the table in this locked-down world, but knowing what to look for and being creative with what we find would lead us to different insights. When the science of data meets with creative invention, the results will cut through the clutter and be relevant to today’s consumers facing a scary new world.

Next story loading loading..