Social Media in the Pharmaceutical Industry, Part 1 / If Damien Hirst turned an art gallery into a pharmacy, why shouldn’t we turn a Facebook page into an arty pharmacy?
“Medicine is my lawful wife and literature my mistress; when I get tired of one, I spend the night with the other.”
“Inform and entertain”, recites the social media mantra; whatever you do, follow this simple rule and you will eventually produce something good.
And yes, even if it is not about football or girls or LOLs or cats, your Facebook page / Tumblr / Pinterest can attract a strong community. And yes, even if you are a pharmaceutical company.
How? Here’s the recipe:
Useful links and info + practical advices + healthy recipes and tips for a healthier lifestyle + a forum-like place in which the company and the consumers converse + YOUR PERSONAL TWIST
What about the twist? Think for instance about medicine in art. Even more specific: let’s consider the concept of pharmacy in art.
Here’s a just a few examples:
Readymades of Marcel Duchamp / Pharmacy (Pharmacie) / 1914
‘Gouache on chromolithograph of a scene with bare trees and a winding stream to which he added two dots of watercolor, red and green, like the colored liquids in a pharmacy.’
Joseph Cornell / Pharmacy
Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) Pharmacy typed and dated ‘Joseph Cornell 1943’ (on a paper label affixed to the inside) wood box construction — printed paper, colored sand, colored foil, sulfur, feathers, seashells, butterfly, aluminum foil, fiber, wood shavings, copper wire, fruit pits, water, gold paint, cork, water, dried leaves and found objects 15¼ x 12 x 3 1/8 in. (38.7 x 30.5 x 7.9 cm.) Executed in 1943.’
If you have a spare $4 million in your right pocket, head here to buy it: http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/sculptures-statues-figures/joseph-cornell-pharmacy-5147472-details.aspx
Damien Hirst / Pharmacy / 1992
From the Tate’s website: ‘For Hirst medicine, like art, provides a belief system which is both seductive and illusory. He has commented: ‘I can’t understand why some people believe completely in medicine and not in art, without questioning either’ (quoted in Damien Hirst, p.9). By reproducing the area of a pharmacy the public is normally denied access to in a highly aestheticised context, Hirst has created a kind of temple to modern medicine, ironically centred around an agent of death (the insect-o-cutor). Offering endless rows of palliative hopes for a diseased cultural body, Hirst’s Pharmacy could be seen as a representation of the multiple range of philosophies, theories and belief systems available as possible means of structuring and redeeming a life. Like medicine, however, these attempts to think a way around death are eternally doomed to failure.’
WARNING! The following example should be taken as a mere case of pharmacy-themed art, and it shouldn’t be used, for obvious reasons (customers looking for medicines online don’t really want to see posts about drug abuse, addiction and sad stories of troubled pop stars).
Jason Mecier / Pill Portraits
Pharmacy: From Old French farmacie (modern French pharmacie), from Medieval Latin pharmacia, from Ancient Greek φαρμακεία (pharmakeia, “the use of drugs”), from φάρμακον (pharmakon, “a drug, charm, enchantment”), from Ancient Greek φαρμακίς (pharmakis, “witch”).
Lots of celebrities have problems with drugs. Everybody knows it. American artist Jason Mecier created a series of interesting celebrity mosaic-portraits using coloured prescription pills.
Stay tuned for Part 2.
Back in the 1980s, people used to visit exotic places and take a gazillion pictures with big black squared point-and-shoot cameras, then come back home, invite people over, give them crackers, salty biscuits and pistachios, show them the gazillion pictures, and bore them to death.
Here’s me riding a camel. Here’s Jen posing in front of the Great Pyramid. Here’s our driver, Rashid, eating ice cream. Here’s Fritz, a German fellow traveller, dancing to Lady Gaga, on the boat, during the Nile cruise.
And so on and so forth, multiplied by a gazillion times.
We already spent some time explaining why Burberry, AKA one of the toppermost social brands ever, AKA the reference when it comes to all things digital marketing-related, is surprisingly weak on Pinterest (and Instagram), when they talk about London.
I mean, London is not exactly like Hull – two streets, three pubs, fish & chips shop, that’s it – so why are they always posting pictures of Trafalgar Square, Westminster, Tower Bridge and other rather unoriginal stuff?
The only explanation is they hired a team of social media veterans – meaning they are a bunch 75-year-olds accountants with a passion for colourless clichéd holiday photography.
Now, my point is: do you want to show London’s vibe, its characters and countless shades of Majesty and Beauty, in an original and unique – yet organic mummy-friendly – way? Then get inspired here:
Tips, food, places, photos of sheep roaming next to Canary Wharf, parks and green spaces, iconic design, healthy eating, tilt-shift photography, vintage, art and characters. Of course, this is not the perfect Pinterest account, the one scientist will study in the future and social strategists will talk about for many years to come. Yet, although this is not a a £4.95 billion business – like Burberry – they inform and entertain and tell the story of a great place, in a very pleasant way.
What do you think?
On Beauty, #menswear, video, and the meaning of art / A movie starring T-Michael, A. Sauvage, Philip Lim and Mr Porter.
“If you can’t convince them, confuse them.”
Harry S. Truman
The Internet is so bottomless and lawless and structureless and ruleless, you’d think it’s Show Time, with brands going all arty and psychedelic, coming up with new things every day, things that will help change our Weltanschauung and open our minds, just like when you watch a movie directed by Terry Gilliam or enjoy a pièce de theatre written by Samuel Beckett or you look at Francis Bacon’s Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X.
Paradoxically, it doesn’t work that way.
The majority of brands online still behave in a surprisingly unsurprising way. Same old story, same old tricks, same old copy, same old content. Social media should work as the lab in which revolutionary experiments get conducted, in order to find the cure to boredom, and to finally synthesise the ultimate recreational and mind-expanding pill. In fact, most of the times we see things about cats, BUY THIS, LIKE THAT, SHARE THIS, REPIN THAT, Rihanna and a couple of photographs with a caption that says something grandma-friendly, but with some sort of rebellious twist. What happened to Beauty? What happen to the motto “Ars gratia artis”, AKA “L’art pour l’art”, AKA “Art for art’s sake”, which inspired Edgar Allan Poe, Théophile Gautier, Victor Cousin and Walter Benjamin? What happened to David Lynch and a bunch of scary, silent bunnies? Where is John Cage, making music with a piano, a few bolts and screws, and a hammer? Moreover, as video is still the dark horse of social media, it allows the inspired one to go even more creative and experimental. But few brands truly exploit the medium, and, when they do, they tend to be quite conservative.
Storytelling through video, then, how should it be done? It’s all about Beauty. GIVE US BEAUTY. Please.
Look at the following examples. Pure Beauty. Art. Cool stuff. Less garments, more message. Quality over quantity. Focus on the story rather than sales. And Vimeo instead of YouTube. Win.
‘Phillip Lim has proved an early addition to the onslaught of spring/summer 2013 campaign videos, with a beautiful spot for its menswear line that demonstrates martial arts tricking.’
THIS IS NOT A SUIT (2010) — A FILM BY A. SAUVAGE
A stunning homage to Jørgen Leth’s The Perfect Human.
FEATURE FILM: THE REINVENTION
From Mr Porter – ‘One Sunday evening in April 2004, 32-year-old professional gambler Mr Ashley Revell walked into Las Vegas’ Plaza Hotel & Casino in a black tuxedo. His aim? To take the $135,300 he’d made the previous month selling everything he owned – including the clothes off his back – and place it on the roulette table in one gigantic, double-or-nothing bet. Pick right between black and red and he’d be twice as rich; wrong, and he’d walk away with nothing. Literally.’
ART COMES FIRST
About: ‘Fashion maybe suﬀers from a reputation as art’s most shallow valued cousin, but that is only because its power is often corrupted and abused.
The A.C.F. is not about fashion in that way. It is about something else entirely. The nobility of the striving and nature mandate that we fulﬁll our responsibility to inspire one another.’
The video has been ‘Written & Directed by Finn-Erik Rognan and T-Michael’. I met the latter when I was living in Norway: a true gentleman, always impeccably dressed, a Über-stylish dandy, way before the #menswear thing became a mainstream trend. A pioneer. He even came to one of our exhibitions, held in a squatted wooden house, close to his studio, in the most beautiful – and somehow hidden – part of Bergen. Bless.
What will the future bring? Hopefully, more Beauty.
Among some interesting new brands devoted to menswear, elegance, and the Beauty of art, there’s one that looks especially enlightened: the name’s Curieux, stay tuned for more.
What do you think?
Dear Rebecca Minkoff, you are doing it right! But you should get some Twitter tips from Mangal 2, the Turkish restaurant in Dalston.
Twitter reminds me of David Lynch: many say it’s the best thing ever, others show hatred to the platform and its quasi-sectarian users – they have their own jargon, and codes according to which you constantly have to talk to peers, and use lots of hashtags – others simply don’t get it.
Whether you like or not, though, Twitter is an unavoidable tool if you have a digital presence. The problem is how you use it. According to an article published by The Verge, ‘Millions of people use Twitter on a regular basis, but how many of them are bona fide masters of the microblogging medium? If you ask them, more than 181,000.’ Brace yourself, for here come the Twitter Gurus again. The truth is, I’m afraid, that usually Twitter is used by brands for customer service-related matter, or as an extension of Facebook and Tumblr, or as a hub for links to other destinations and platforms, but it is rarely exploited as an engaging tool per se.
Let’s face it, usually tweets are nothing but “Hi, click here, go there and check that out”.
Look at Rebecca Minkoff: a visually rich and engaging Facebook page, an absolutely inspiring Pinterest, a seriously well-written blog, with lots of interesting content, about music, art, culture, travel, food and other cool stuff. But the Twitter account is dull. No fun. No sparkle. No good. ‘Look of the day (link)’, ‘Loving this (link)’, ‘Here’s a bright idea (link)’, ‘Spotted at Pre-Fall appointments: (link)’, ‘A little #prefall sneak peek! (link)’ and so on and so forth.
I was a bit disappointed. But then, roaming around the Land of the Holy Twitterian, I found, thanks to Ms. Serendipity, one of the best accounts ever. And it’s not Gucci’s, or Obama’s, or The Stones’, or Brett Easton Ellis’. Nope, this is @Mangal2, a Turkish restaurant, in Dalston, north-east London. Here’s a selection of the funniest tweets they came up with, lately:
‘This weather makes me so happy! I could just do something really nice today like give staff a raise or free kebabs to customers. But no.’
‘Ideal #CBB list: 1) a masochist 2) a sadist 3) Nick Griffin 4) Somebody physically imposing and aggressive of an ethnic origin 5) Hasselhoff’
‘Nothing more infuriating than approaching a Turkish customer in Turkish, only for them to reply in broken English ‘I no Turkisch’.’
‘Turkey has been trying to film their own version of ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ since 1983. Still can’t find a lead for the ‘good’.’
‘Don’t complain about ‘tiny portions’ when you’ve arrived with that huge belly. In context, everything is small. Trees are small.’
‘Turkey has just entered 1972.’
‘Customer pays, gets up to leave: oh wait, did the bill inc. service? Me: No. Customer: ok, good. *leaves*’
‘Family arrives. They order wine. Two 12 year old kids want a glass. Kids, don’t make me bring my belt out. Be good.’
‘Don’t over-estimate how liked you are. You reserved a table for 25 for your birthday but only 6 of you turned up. Know thyself.’
‘If you manage 10 Turkish men at your job you’re pretty much over-qualified for any position at London Zoo.’
”In my next life I want to come back as a Turkish man’ – nobody.’
‘Being a bouncer in Dalston must be the easiest job in the world. Hipsters don’t fight.’
(On Xmas day) ‘Everyone is tweeting about ‘Turkey in the oven’ and that’s really racist and insulting.’
‘Hipsters originate from Instagramistan. I know this sounds like a war-torn nation, but unfortunately it isn’t.’
What is so good about it, then?
First of all, it is bloody funny.
Secondly, I doubt they hired a hip agency in Shoreditch or a moustached freelance to take care of it. Too many self-proclaimed Gurus or Ninjas will never reach this level of engagement.
Last but not least, they show you can use anything to bring grist to your mill: the environment you work in (restaurant-related tweets), the people around you (customer or hipster-realted jokes), puns (Turkey the country vs Turkey the bird), and so on and so forth.
If a Turkish restaurant can come up with engaging tweets on a daily basis, and define a strong strategy for a powerful presence, why not a fashion brand, with much bigger resources and an army of Gurus at their service?
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