The Tran$parent PR by Mike Huckman
(Mia Hamm was compensated by GlaxoSmithKline for her participation in this educational program.)
A major drug company has hired–quite literally– a soccer mom to try to kick up its vaccine business. GlaxoSmithKline announced this week that Olympian Mia Hamm is heading (get it?) its new “Give Your Health A Shot” awareness campaign. The PR practice of securing celebrity spokespeople for drugs and diseases is nothing new, but there appears to be something new in the placement of the disclosure about the company’s relationship with Hamm.
On the “Give Your Health A Shot” (by the way, that’s a really long URL) homepage, underneath the photo of Hamm there’s this in boldface:
Mia Hamm was compensated by GlaxoSmithKline for her participation in this educational program.
And there’s a similar prominent disclosure for a physician who’s featured on the site:
Dr. Moore was compensated by GlaxoSmithKline for his participation in this educational program.
I checked out the website for the Roche/Genentech osteoporosis treatment Boniva, which arguably has the most well-known, currently running celebrity drug endorsement program, and there’s no such disclaimer for Sally Field. (Disclosure: Roche/Genentech are clients of MS&L, but the agency does not work on Boniva.)
And the groundbreaking Twitter page for race car driver Charlie Kimball and Novo Nordisk’s insulin makes no mention of payments, either. It just says he’s “a spokesperson for Novo Nordisk,” so I guess people are supposed to assume he’s getting paid to do that.
I think the new GSK homepage for Hamm probably has it right. Yeah, it might be obvious that a spokesperson/endorser is getting paid, but in the heavily regulated pharmaceutical industry these days, I guess the goal (get it?) is to be blatantly obvious.