Saturday, February 28, 2009
Case Study by Lauren Rothbardt and Sara Oxfeld
“At least 43 colleges have gone smoke-free from California to New Jersey. Nearly 31 percent of full-time college students smoke compared with about 25 percent of the overall population, according to the federal government’s 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Smoking is being banned everywhere on these campuses, even in the main quads and sidewalks” (Cook, 2007).
The Tobacco-Related Disease Research program conducted a study in 2000 about understanding and preventing college smoking. According to the study, in 1981, it was estimated that only 8.2 percent of college students smoked. By 1998, it was estimated that 28.5 percent of college students were supporting tobacco use. This number continues to rise in both two-year and four-year universities. This is the underlying reason why more and more universities are taking the steps to become smoke-free.
According to the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, “there are now at least 260 100 percent smoke-free campuses with no exemptions. Residential housing facilities are included, where they exist” (Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation). Tobacco free U is a Web site that outlines facts and figures about college students and tobacco use, sample smoke-free policies, tips for cessation, evaluation tips, and information by state. The Web site points out that half of current college smokers would like to quit, which is an important fact for universities to take into consideration when taking steps to become smoke-free.
On college campuses, certain subsets are more likely to use tobacco due to tobacco advertisements, sponsorships, and promotional events. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students, fraternity members, art students, and women are all classified as high-risk subgroups. It is important that universities tailor their messages for these groups.
First-year students are also considered a priority population because many of these students are away from home for the first time and are exploring their newly found freedom. This subset of students is vulnerable to the influence of tobacco advertisements. Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Maryland’s unpublished data found, “approximately 60 percent of sorority women smoke. We also know that smokeless tobacco companies have targeted fraternities with their promotions” (Tobacco Free U). Tobacco companies also target women because smoking is classified as an appetite suppressant and a way to maintain a lower weight.
College campuses are going smoke-free in rapidly growing numbers across the United States and we predict that many more universities will make the choice to go smoke-free in the near future.
University at Buffalo
On Nov. 20, 2008, in conjunction with the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, the University at Buffalo announced plans to implement a 100 percent smoke-free policy to take effect beginning with the 2009-2010 school year. UB also created the UBreathe Free Initiative to assist smokers in the process of quitting as the campus progresses to be smoke-free.
The initiative works in collaboration with Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the New York State Smokers Quitline, the Erie-Niagara Tobacco-Free Coalition, Tobacco Cessation Center North and the New York State Department of Health.
The vice president for health sciences, David L. Dunn, M.D, Ph.D., made the announcement. Under the plan, smoking will not be permitted in any UB owned building or space, including parking lots.
UB is the first SUNY campus in Western New York to implement a 100 percent smoke-free policy. The University of Wellness and Work/Life Balance within University Human Resources and Wellness Education Services within Student Affairs will be available to help students and faculty “kick the habit” (University at Buffalo). They will provide short cessation counseling and free nicotine patches and gum for smokers. “The Great American Smokeout is a great way for smokers to prove to themselves that they can quit for a day, in hopes of quitting for good” (ACS).
The decision to go smoke-free is consistent with the “Greener shades of Blue” initiatives. This campaign is committed to demonstrating environmental leadership by reducing energy costs, promoting alternative energy sources, and working to abate climate change. The decision to go smoke free was among those of a comprehensive recycling program and a rapid reorientation away from fossil fuel use, which is part of their Green Climate Action Initiative.
UB summoned a committee over a year ago to review their smoking policy and explore the options for strengthening it. The committee also brainstormed ways to help students and faculty quit smoking. The team was comprised of representatives from Human Resources, Student Affairs and UB’s Academic Health Center. This team created the UBreathe Free Initiative. In September 2008, UB ran an UBreathe Free Week where the university implemented a new smoking-cessation program.
University of Arkansas
The University of Arkansas’s smoke-free policy stemmed from a belief that they could improve the health of all Arkansans through changes in public policy. Representing health interests on campus and the recipient of many complaints about the use of tobacco on campus, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs Mary Alice Serafini discussed a tobacco free campus with the vice chancellor for student affairs, Dr. Johnetta Cross Brazzell in the fall of 2006. She in turn took the proposal to the chancellor’s executive committee who reviewed the issues about tobacco use for several months. Serafini was used as a resource for the review.
In spring 2007, the chancellor’s executives decided that the campus needed at least 12 months to allow tobacco users to prepare for a tobacco free campus through participation in cessation programs. The plan was announced and the last academic year was used to inform governance groups, to hold town hall meetings, and to meet with anyone with any interest. Many classes used the policy as class projects.
In June, the tobacco-free policy is being marketed through a comprehensive campaign known as “Fresh” was announced.The director of communications and outreach for the Division of Student Affairs, Scott Flanagin, has headed up the marketing efforts for the policy, and worked with an award-winning student group, known as UA Productions, to create the concepts and the materials, right down to the Web site: http://fresh.uark.edu” (The University of Arkansas). On July 1, 2008, University of Arkansas went tobacco free
The Fresh Campaign has the YouTube account freshua to display their smoke-free Public Service Announcements.
In fall 2008, Miami University went 100 percent smoke-free. In 1993, Miami first banned smoking in all public areas of buildings except in certain designated spaces. Thisban included smoking in residence halls, and in 2002 the ban was extended to restrict smoking within 25 feet of the halls. In December 2007, in conjunction with the state law banning smoking in public places of employment, smoking was also banned on the university’s campus within 25 feet of other buildings and in university owned vehicles.
Following the new bans in 2007, Provost Jeffrey Herbst formed an ad hoc committee to in effort to gather data to inform a decision. Surveys became available in print and online. Out of the 6,157 responses, 52 percent were in favor of a full smoking ban, with 62 percent favoring a ban if it meant support for smokers who were trying to quit (The Miami University). The committee took into account personal freedom issues, enforcement, grounds keeping, economic impact on a conference/hospitality level and economic impact on donations.
After reviewing all of these factors, the committee made the recommendation that Miami go smoke-free with a few exceptions such as hotels and conference centers. The committee also recommended offering multiple cessation options for its employee and student smokers. Herbest said, "We are banning smoking and offering cessation resources because nothing is more important than the health and welfare of Miami's people" (The Miami University).
On Aug. 27, 2007, at the Miami University Board of Trustees meeting, the board discussed the importance of maintaining a healthy living and learning environment for its staff and students. After reviewing the information brought to them by the ad hoc committee President David Hodge endorsed the recommendation for all four of Miami’s campus to become smoke-free beginning in the 2008-2009 academic year.
As of Aug. 1, 2008, Miami’s smoking ban was amended to be 100 percent smoke-free. Their new policy is as follows,
In order to promote the health of our students, faculty, staff and visitors, all Miami University campuses are designated Smoke-Free Environments. Smoking is defined as the burning of tobacco or any other material in any type of smoking equipment, including, but not restricted to, cigarettes, cigars, or pipes.
Smoking is prohibited in all Miami University-owned facilities and on the grounds of any university-owned property. This includes all buildings owned or controlled by Miami University, shelters, indoor and outdoor athletic facilities, indoor and outdoor theatres,bridges, walkways, sidewalks, residence halls, parking lots and garages. Smoking is prohibited on sidewalks that adjoin University property. Smoking is also prohibited in any vehicle or equipment owned, leased or operated by Miami University.
Faculty, staff, and students violating this policy are subject to University disciplinary action. Violators may also be subject to prosecution for violation of Ohio’s Smoking Ban (Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 3794). Visitors who violate this policy may be denied access to Miami University campuses and may ultimately be subject to arrest for criminal trespass,” (The Miami University).
The University of Arkansas
According to the vice chancellor of student affairs, Mary Alice Serafini, “now that Arkansas’ smoke-free policy has been implemented, there are two major issues. First, the university did not have enough signage and are now making up for lost time on signage and posters. Secondly, people want enforcement and the policy is based on compliance and mutual respect.” The latest initiatives have been a resolution by the Residents Interhall Congress to set up designated smoking areas with a response from the Associated Student Government not to support designated smoking areas, but to enforce littering rules and implement enforcement of tobacco use away from buildings. The Tobacco Free Committee believes this will all be a three to four year process with bumps in the road. This is hard for those who really want a pure tobacco free campus and want punishment to achieve it. The university believes compliance will work in the end.
On Sept. 12, 2008, a group referred to as “Hodge’s Smokers” gathered to protest the university’s campus smoking ban. The group lit up cigarettes and carried them, burning, all across Miami’s campus in protest of the newly enforced smoking ban that went into effect in August. While this protest was not the first negative reaction to the new policy, it was one of the largest. Students are not the only ones upset by this ban; staff members aren’t too thrilled either. However, the staff is doing a better job at adhering to the rules than the students(Reinbolt, 2008).
Months later, the university is still struggling with enforcing the ban. Students and staff are frequently spotted light up on university property. While some find the ban to be effective, others completely ignore it. As of December 2008, “According to the Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution, 33 students have been disciplined for violating the campus-wide smoking ban. Claire Wagner, director of news and public information, said no staff members have been reprimanded for smoking on campus” (Stenback, 2008). Wagner believes the purpose of the ban is being fulfilled.
We interviewed director of communications for Miami University, Perry Richardson. Richardson has held his position for many years.
According to Richardson, Miami University joined the campus initiative to become completely smoke-free in the 2008-2009 academic year. Jeffrey Herbst was the first to form an ad hoc committee to petition to the University for the smoking ban. According to Richardson, “After credible research was conducted, the university complied and agreed to become 100 percent smoke-free.”
Miami is one of the few universities who have decided to treat the ban with an enforcement policy. Richardson said, “We believe enforcement will insure the greatest success of the ban.”
“While at first the ban may have caused some commotion on campus, we believe the students and staff have seen an improvement on campus, and therefore support the new policy,” said Richardson. However, Richardson believes that it may be too soon to determine if the new policy has caused smoking rates to decrease among students and faculty but he continues to remain hopeful.
Since the ban is still in its’ earlier stages, Richardson, deems that in time the university will develop better methods for enforcing the ban, hence keeping their students and staff healthier and their campus cleaner.
Upon conducting this interview we realized this is an issue many are not comfortable discussing. Whereas Richardson agreed to answer our questions, despite the fact that he only answered a couple of them and was very vague in his answers, the other professionals we contacted from the other universities chose not to comment at all on the topic. We believe this lack of cooperation may be due to the fact that the policy may not be functioning to its’ fullest potential just yet.
However, Richardson’s interview did provide us with some insight into the minds behind the smoke-free policy. We believe all three of the universities are acting in good faith in their attempts to rid the campus of cigarette trash and litter, and in an attempt to provide their students and staff with the learning and living environment they deserve.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Philip Morris Case Study “Think. Don’t Smoke” vs. the Truth Campaign
Comm473: Allison Kershner and Melanie Loomis
In the 1930’s, Edward Bernays revolutionized the way the tobacco industry promoted cigarettes by linking female empowerment with the taboo of women smoking. While promoting for Lucky Strike, he launched a legendary public event by taking beautiful, well known feminists at the time and had them walk the streets of New York City carrying a banner representing freedom, each with a lit cigarette. This widely publicized Easter Day parade event paved the road for the growing tobacco industry to be forced into a whirlwind of constantly evolving methods of releasing advertisements and propaganda to promote tobacco products (Stauber. 1994).
As early as the 1950’s, truth concerning the harmful effects of smoking came to light in magazine articles. Even Bernays said that if he had known the dangerous effects of tobacco, he would not have taken Lucky Strike as his client. It was during this era, the tobacco industry more than doubled its advertising budget to pay for media ads and public relations practitioners. In 1954, The Tobacco Industry Research Council was a necessary formation in order to counter attack such negative health report findings (Stauber. 1994).
In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control published a survey which found that the number of high school students who had smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days was almost one quarter of the population (23 percent). Of those who smoke, the study found that 3,900 smoked a cigarette each morning and that 1,500 of them were regular smokers (Longpre). Smoking is killing nearly 5 million people a year worldwide.
Strategic Planning Behind the Problem:
The tobacco industry continues to receive harsh criticism among public health advocates. A lieu of advertising restrictions and smoking bans have caused the tobacco industry to curtail their past marketing techniques and branch out to find new ones because of the intense research and media coverage on the link between cancer and tobacco.
Just as in the 1950’s, large tobacco companies have been on the run to combat these accusations and they have needed a method of survival in this growing age of around the clock media coverage. To counter attack accusations that they are trying to target young people as a way to maintain revenue, Philip Morris has created the Youth Smoking Prevention Program to educate teenagers and parents about the harmful effects of smoking. Philip Morris originally launched their “Think. Don’t Smoke” campaign in 1998, which was regarded as unsuccessful and viewed by the media as a self-interested attempt at creating brand recognition.
Primary audience: Male and female young people, ages 10 to 14, in the United States who do not smoke and frequently watch television.
Intervening: parents, teachers, coaches, other teenagers and youth serving organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters and the 4H Club.
Moderating: anti-tobacco associations, public health advocates, World Health Organization
Philip Morris launched a “Think. Don’t Smoke” television advertisement campaign targeted towards young people. The commercials began to run in 1998 and continued to do so for years with the same campaign slogan and a renewing $100 million budget. In the “Think. Don’t Smoke” commercials, Philip Morris associated teenagers who chose not to start smoking as being “cool” among their peers. The first television advertisements were run on the Fox, WB, TNT, Cartoon Channel and ABC networks to appeal to youth programming. Additional Youth Smoking Prevention Ads were to run during future Super Bowls.
In 1998, public health advocates from Florida launched a dramatically successful state-wide response campaign attack on the tobacco industry known as Truth campaign. The vastly different messages portrayed in each campaign have produced years of analysis by researchers and the public regarding why the Truth campaign resonated so well among young people in comparison to the Philip Morris campaign. Advertising in the tobacco industry has been an issue that has affected the PR Industry since Edward Bernays in the 1930’s and remains a popular topic to examine regarding the stickiness of certain messages compared to others.
Past and Current Challenges:
In 1998, Philip Morris and other major tobacco companies faced one of their biggest challenges because of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. The tobacco companies were forced to pay $325 billion over the next 25 years and restrict their cigarette advertising and marketing. . This lawsuit required the tobacco companies to run their own antismoking ads to help reduce teenage tobacco use. Philip Morris developed a campaign called “Think. Don’t Smoke.” and at the same time, the American Legacy Foundation formed the Truth campaign.
Although the two campaigns were directed at the same teenaged audience, at similar time periods and made efforts to disseminate the same message, the Truth campaign was much more successful in getting kids to reject smoking. In fact, June 2002 article published by the American Journal of Public Health, surveyed teenagers and compared the two campaigns. The study found that those exposed to the Truth campaign were 66 percent less likely to smoke and those who were exposed to the Philip Morris campaign were 36 percent more likely to smoke (Heath).
According to Made to Stick, the Truth campaign ads out preformed the Phillip Morris ads because they were more memorable and they suggested that teens rebel against “The Man” –or Big Tobacco, by choosing not to smoke. In an article about the Philip Morris “Think. Don’t Smoke.” campaign, the author blamed the survey results on a number of factors. "The ads are fuzzy-warm, which could actually generate favorable feelings for the tobacco industry and, by extension, its products. And their theme — that adults should tell young people not to smoke mostly because they are young people — is exactly the sort of message that would make many teenagers feel like lighting up".
The Truth campaigns were so successful that Philip Morris responded by filing a Big Tobacco “anti-vilification” clause which aimed to get the commercials pulled from the air. Carolyn Levy, Philip Morris’s senior vice president for youth-smoking prevention justified the clause by saying, “We felt that [the Truth ads] are not consistent with the focus and mission of the American Legacy Foundation” (Heath). But the courts and research did not agree.
Philip Morris no longer uses the "Think. Don't Smoke." campaign and has begun using a three prong approach. The approach focuses on parent communications, grant programs and youth access prevention. The corporation follows positive youth development theory which emphasizes positive relationships and activities in teen's lives to keep them from smoking. Philip Morris also partakes in ongoing research to evaluate their prevention programs and communications. According to Philip Morris the number of underage smokers in America has steadily decreased since 1998.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
GARDASIL: The Selling of a Drug and a Disease
Comm473: Kelly McNulty and Christiana Pluta
Merck and Co. Inc, established in the United States in 1891, describes themselves as “a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first (http://www.merck.com).”According to their mission statement, they are committed to the highest standards of ethics and integrity and commit their research to improving human and animal health and the quality of life. They also discover, develop, market and manufacture vaccines and medicines to address unmet medical needs and devote efforts to increase people’s access to medicines. They were the first company to develop a vaccine for cervical cancer in the summer of 2006. Cervical cancer is defined by the National Cancer Institute as “cancer that forms in tissues of the cervix, the organ connecting the uterus and vagina. Cervical cancer is usually a slow-growing cancer that may not have symptoms but can be found with regular Pap tests (http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/cervical).” But according to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC), about 10,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year and about 3,700 women die each year from the disease. In the majority of developing countries, cervical cancer remains the number-one cause of cancer-related deaths among women. The virus HPV, or Human Papillomavirus, is a factor in the development in nearly all cases of cervical cancer. More than 100 types of HPV are known to exist, with some being low–risk types, but even those may cause cancer (NCCC). The vaccine developed by Merck called GARDASIL prevents HPV types 16 and 18 that relate to 70% of cervical cancer cases, and types 6 and 11 that cause genital warts. GARDASIL was approved for girls and young women ages nine to twenty-six.
Research Conducted: According to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Web site on June 8, 2006, a total of six studies were conducted to show how well GARDASIL worked in women. Four of the studies were conducted with women between the ages of sixteen and twenty-six, and two were conducted with girls ages nine to fifteen. In the older group, 21,000 women were either given the vaccine or a placebo. The results showed that GARDASIL was almost one hundred percent effective in preventing “precancerous cervical lesions, precancerous vaginal and vulvar lesions, and genital warts caused by infection with the HPV types against which the vaccine is directed,” in women who had not already been infected. The prevention of those lesions was believed to be highly likely to result in the prevention of those cancers, although the study period was not long enough for cervical cancer to develop. The results also showed the vaccine was only effective when given prior to an infection, and not helpful to women already infected with HPV types included in the vaccine. In the two studies given to girls, ages nine to fifteen, their immune response was equal to that found in the sixteen to twenty-six year olds, indicating that the vaccines effects should be similar. The vaccines safety was evaluated in approximately 11,000 subjects. Most of the adverse reactions experienced were pain and tenderness at the injection site. Also according to the Web site, the manufacturer (Merck) agreed to conduct several studies after the license was approved in other to evaluate the general safety of the vaccine and its long-term effectiveness. Merck also agreed to monitor the pregnancy outcomes of women who received the vaccine while not knowing they were pregnant, and to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of GARDASIL in males (FDA).
Execution and Evaluation:
The GARDASIL vaccine was approved by the FDA in June 2006, but prior to unveiling its national “One Less” advertising campaign for GARDASIL, Merck funded other campaigns which included the Make the Connection campaign in 2005. This campaign centered around the Make the Connection bead, a part of a make-it-yourself bracelet kit that would help raise cervical cancer awareness. This eventually evolved into the Make the Commitment Fund, where women were challenged to sign a pledge on the Web site that stated; I, (name) am making the commitment to talk with my healthcare professional in January about ways that I can prevent cervical cancer, including getting regular cervical cancer screenings (http://www.bio-medicine.org/medicine-news).” Giving women the opportunity to not only sign but read and understand the pledge on the Make the Connection Web site ensured that doctors would be receiving questions about cervical cancer, ones they could answer by bringing up GARDASIL once it was available. After these “pre-campaign” campaigns were completed, the “One Less” campaign began. The television, print and online advertisements featured the slogan “One Less,” with girls and young women saying they wanted to be one less woman battling cervical cancer. According to Bev Lybrand, vice president and general manager of the Merck Vaccine Division, "The full public health benefit of reducing the burden of cervical cancer and HPV disease may be achieved through broad public awareness and vaccination with GARDASIL, which is the driving force behind One Less (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com).” The campaign focused on a positive message to encourage women and inform them about GARDASIL and the risks of cervical cancer. While empowering them to become “One Less,” the campaign not only encouraged young women to get the vaccine, but also to continue to see their doctor for regular health screenings (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJ8x3KR75fA). While GARDASIL continues to be promoted through this campaign, another brand of commercials are also being played. In these “I Chose” commercials, both adult women and young girls are shown saying things like “I chose to get my daughter vaccinated because I want her to be one less woman affected by cervical cancer” and “I chose to get vaccinated after my doctor told me GARDASIL does more than help prevent cervical cancer(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gd4ypCXusrI).” Both the “One Less” campaign and the “I Chose” commercials play into the vaccines target market, which is both young women and their mothers. By using slogans of empowerment, Merck is able to reach the target market they want to receive the vaccine. By having mothers speak in the “I Chose” commercials, it plays into mothers instincts to protect their children, as well as gives a voice for the younger girls who need a parent’s consent in order to be vaccinated.
Although Merck is a credible pharmaceutical company, they are the only company to have this vaccine, and because it is the only vaccine that prevents any strain of HPV that causes cervical cancer it gives Merck an advantage on both fronts. They are fulfilling their social responsibility by making GARDASIL available in order to help combat cervical cancer, but since they are also the only company with a vaccine of this type, they are able to make a lot of money from it. GARDASIL is being marketed as the “cervical cancer vaccine,” and young women who receive it may not know there is still a chance of them getting cervical cancer. The vaccine was targeted to prevent HPV, a cause of cervical cancer, but not the cancer itself. This concept may be confusing to young women, who may not realize that even with the vaccine they can still get cervical cancer. Also, according to financial site Bloomberg.com, Merck is now targeting GARDASIL to women who may not benefit from the vaccine in order to compensate for a decline in sales in July and August 2008. Although women ages nine to twenty-six were always the target market, Merck has shifted its marketing away from the younger end of the demographic in order to focus on nineteen to twenty-six year olds, the part of the demographic they insist will benefit from the vaccine although they are having difficulty trying to get this age group to receive the shot. Researchers at Harvard University concluded in an August 2008 study that the vaccine is not effective in the older age group. Those findings correlate with the recommendations of the American Cancer Society (http://www.forums.pharma-mkting.com/showthread.php?p=8547). As more girls get the shot, the market for those who need it declines, which is why Merck is trying to market towards another demographic, but marketing GARDASIL to women who will not benefit from it in order to turn a profit will not help their campaign. According to a study done by researchers at Harvard and published in August 2008 by The New England Journal of Medicine, giving GARDASIL to women through their mid-twenties might not be worth the price (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/359/8/821). The three-dose vaccine costs approximately $360, but according to the Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is cost-effective for women ages nine to twenty-six, including women who are sexually active, because few of those women are actually infected with the four HPV types the vaccine covers. As a result, they would still be protected by getting the vaccine (http://www.cdc.gov/std/Hpv/STDFact-HPV-vaccine.htm).
For our case study, GARDASIL: The selling of a Drug and a Disease, we interviewed Michael F. Doble, accredited in public relations (APR), a certified functional continuity professional (CFCP), and the director of strategic communications for the Raytheon Company in Arlington, Va. Raytheon describes their company as “a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world (http://www.raytheon.com/ourcompany/).” Although Mr. Doble’s expertise are not in pharmaceuticals and he is not overly familiar with Merck’s campaign for GARDASIL, he was willing to do some of his own research about it, in order to answer any questions we may have had. We asked for some of his thoughts about how he believed the campaign was handled from a public relations standpoint. As stated,
“Here are a few impressions after reading a little on this: While the campaign was very good at illuminating the issue, I believe that Merck went beyond what science told them by targeting older women for the vaccine. To the uninitiated they appeared greedy and more concerned about sales than science: a PR blunder that will haunt them. I've been around long enough to know that you can find an "scientific expert" to support almost any point of view, there are clearly enough credible experts arrayed against extending the vaccinations to older women to make it a net minus instead of a net plus. Also, the whole "make vaccination mandatory" lobbying effort looked like a thinly veiled pitch for additional business (Doble).”
After listening Mr. Doble’s opinions about the issue, it was apparent that although he believed the campaign illustrated the risk of cervical cancer in young women, Merck may have surpassed justifiable limits. Furthermore, by trying to target older women with the vaccine, Merck gave the impression of being more concerned with sales than with the social well-being of their customers. The most interesting opinion in Mr. Doble’s interview was how he believed there were enough “credible experts” to go against Merck’s idea of giving older women vaccinations. While this might be the opposite of what Merck desires, they may have to move away from their goal of giving GARDASIL vaccines to older women if there are, in fact, enough experts against it.
Overall, Mr. Doble was able to give us his perspective on Merck’s GARDASIL campaign and while he was not involved in the campaign or with Merck, his public relations expertise allowed him to give an insightful analysis of the campaign Merck implemented.