Merck’s “With Love, Me” campaign: When Connections Truly Value


Merck - a leading global healthcare company, has generated popular success with its public relations campaign called “With Love, Me” in 2017. The campaign, featuring a series of heartfelt letters from cancer survivors and caregivers sending to their former selves, was aimed to support cancer patients with not only valuable information but also meaningful connections among the cancer community.


The challenge

Although people tend to draw comfort and guidance from experienced ones when facing difficult challenges, it is not easy for cancer patients to share about their conditions, even with their families and close friends. Cancer patients, especially those who are newly diagnosed, have been struggling with the feelings of being overwhelmed, confused or scared. During those difficult times, what they need are not only the information but also the intimate connections with others who have had similar experiences.


Strategy & Execution

Being well-aware of these insights, Merck, in partnership with the cancer advocacy community, launched Your Cancer Game Plan (YCGP) - a national resource providing people suffering from cancer and caregivers with emotional, health and communicational support. Then, Merck teamed up with W2O Group - a US analytics-driven and creative marketing agency, to create the “With Love, Me” campaign with a view to supporting cancer patients with not only valuable information but also meaningful connections among the cancer community.


Merck and the agency worked with a group of patients and caregivers on a pointed question: “What advice would you give yourself on the first day of your diagnosis?”. The campaign then received a variety of heartfelt stories about hard-earned wisdom from people who have been battling cancer and caregivers sending to their former selves.

Once receiving a certain amount of letters, Merck activated an integrated media strategy featuring earned media and SEO amplification, social posts, paid social media and paid social ads to reach a larger range of audiences. A website - WithLoveMe.com, was also created to facilitate the campaign.


Besides, the campaign also received support from Washington Square Films and Alison Klayman - a young talented director, to blend live action and illustration to create video vignettes reflecting the ups and downs within the journey of people fighting cancer as well as their burning desire to live. Katic Couric - an award-winning journalist and cancer advocate, also greatly supported the campaign by bringing instant credibility and name recognition to drive earned media coverage. Meanwhile, Jim Kelly was selected as the campaign ambassador to stimulate a national conversion across social platforms and drive users to online resources.


The results

The “With Love, Me” campaign has earned an excellent reputation since its launch in April 2017. Studies and analyses on the campaign have revealed some impressive numbers such as:

  • almost 900 million media impressions

  • 10,000 website visits within a week

  • 7.7 million video views on social media channels

  • 2,700 #withloveme hashtag uses

The campaign was also honoured with an award for Public Relations Campaign category at the 2020 Fierce Pharma Marketing Awards.


References:

  1. shortyawards.com

  2. fiercepharma.com

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