Pfizer became a household name during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic as it worked to develop one of the first safe and effective vaccines, and then launched the most widely used treatment for the virus. As a result, the general public closely associates the company with COVID-19 solutions.
But Pfizer also develops treatments for many other diseases, including some of the most transformational oncology medicines -- with more in the pipeline. To reinsert itself as a leader in oncology research and development, which has a profound effect on the patients who use its medicines, Pfizer created a second season as part of its Science Will Win (SWW) podcast series to take listeners under the microscope of some of the most promising oncology treatments, more specifically breast cancer, which have the potential to shape the future of healthcare and offer new hope to patients around the world.
Oncology is a crowded landscape, with constant conversation and corporate thought leadership making it difficult to break through the noise in a unique and memorable way.
Encourage the public to learn more about breakthrough oncology science, research, and development, including Pfizer’s leadership, and expand their knowledge of the company’s expertise beyond COVID-19 in an engaging and digestible format.
Research & Insights
To bring the oncology narrative to life, we explored different channels and formats that would be compelling and encourage high engagement across target audiences.
More than 62% of U.S. consumers listen to podcasts and over 68% listen to the whole episode, demonstrating that streaming audio – and podcasts in particular – is an increasingly popular digital platform among people of all ages. The familiarity of the medium and its ability to personalize narratives through distinct voices – bringing the featured experiences off the page and to life – uniquely position the platform to more powerfully tell impactful and compelling stories. This, paired with the ability to have high-impact targeting, helped shape the strategy of the series.
To extend the reach of the podcast, we leveraged Pfizer’s social/digital analytics to identify channels that effectively reach the general public and the people who downloaded the first season.
Podcast: To ensure a holistic understanding of the science, research, challenges, and treatment options available to the cancer community, we brought together voices from various aspects of the cancer continuum – patients, oncologists, advocates, and clinical trial participants. These participants illuminated both the human, emotional experience of being diagnosed with and battling cancer with background on how Pfizer approaches the research and development of innovative medicines.
Podcast promotion: To ensure this two-part series was heard by as many in the public as possible, it was promoted through a multichannel campaign to internal and external audiences.
Execution & Tactics
Science Will Win is hosted by geneticist, author, broadcaster and University College London lecturer Adam Rutherford, who is often featured on BBC radio and television as well as a scientific consultant on movies and television shows. Through the host’s conversations with a diverse line-up of guests, the podcast focused on scientists who developed new cancer treatments, specifically for breast cancer, lead clinical trials and treat patients, and the patients and patient advocates themselves.
The podcast series was broadcast on Pfizer’s established, owned podcast, Science Will Win, accessible on the Pfizer website and distributed on all major podcast platforms.
We developed a multi-channel approach to activation. The channels included amplification across social, digital, out-of-home media and newsletters externally, and encouragement to Pfizer colleagues via Yammer, e-signs, emails, and newsletters to download the podcast and share with their networks.
The strategic content push started with a teaser post on Pfizer’s social channels to bring attention to the podcast ahead of launch during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, evolved to media tactics across platforms that ran throughout Q4, and extended to an “in case you missed it” social post from Pfizer’s channels to activate one last push from audiences. By capturing audience attention on places they most commonly engage (and likely surprising places for a pharmaceutical company to show up), we generated a wide reach of user consumption and downloads.
Tactics (including but not limited to the below)
In-person Event Hand-outs
Digital Out-of-Home Media
Season 2 of Science Will Win debuted in the top 1% of podcasts globally and is currently in the top 2.5% of podcasts globally. It also resulted in a 44% increase in downloads from the previous season and a nearly 19% engagement rate combined across channels. These strong results were a combination of paid media, activating a multi-channel amplification approach, and leveraging research and insights to guide our strategy and channel usage.
As of December 31, 2022, SWW topped the Apple Podcasts: United States of America: Life Sciences chart in the top 20 at #15. The results indicate that podcasting was an ideal way to reach the public on a high-science topic, which paves the way for future/upcoming Science Will Win episodes.
Increase in downloads (Season 1 to Season 2): 44%
Engagement Rate: 18.53%
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