Category Archives: Selling Science Smartly

Podcast: Selling Science Smartly: IBM Watson Campaign

In 2011, a cognitive supercomputing system developed at IBM named “Watson” was pitted against, and subsequently defeated, two of the most successful Jeopardy! game-show contestants of all time. A project five years in the making, Watson was initially developed as a “Grand Challenge” successor to Deep Blue, the machine that beat Gary Kasparov at chess, and was a prototype for DeepQA, a question/answer natural language analysis architecture. Since his Jeopardy! triumph, however, Watson has been successfully applied towards improving health care, oncology, business applications and soon enough… even education. At the same time that IBM has been expanding Watson’s cognitive computing abilities, they’ve also been brilliantly marketing him to the general public through a series of traditional and interactive ads.

As part of our ongoing “Selling Science Smartly” series, we analyze the Watson campaign in more depth and feature an exclusive and insightful podcast conversation with the IBM marketing team behind it.
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Selling Science Smartly: ‘Pink Ribbons, Inc.’ and Breast Cancer as a Profit Industry

Earlier this year, the Susan G. Komen Foundation made headlines around the world after their politically-charged decision to cut funding for breast cancer screening at Planned Parenthood caused outrage and negatively impacted donations. Despite reversing the decision and apologizing, many people in the health care and fund raising community feel that the aftermath of the controversy still dogs the foundation. Indeed, Advertising Age literally referred to it as a PR crisis. If all of this sounds more like spin for a brand rather than a charity working towards the cure of a devastating illness, it’s not far from the truth. Susan G. Komen For the Cure, Avon Walk For Breast Cancer and the Revlon Run/Walk For Women represent a triumvirate hegemony in the “pink ribbon” fundraising domain. Over time, their initial breast cancer awareness movement (and everything the pink ribbon stood for symbolically) has moved from activism to pure consumerism. The new documentary Pink Ribbons, Inc. deftly and devastatingly examines the rise of corporate culture in breast cancer fundraising. Who is really profiting from these pink ribbon campaigns, brands or people with the disease? How has the positional messaging of these “pink ribbon” events impacted the women who are actually facing the illness? And finally, has motivation for profit driven the very same companies whose products cause cancer to benefit from the disease? ScriptPhD.com’s Selling Science Smartly advertising series continues with a review of Pink Ribbons, Inc..
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Selling Science Smartly: Pfizer’s “More Than Medication” Campaign

“Ask your doctor if this hard-to-pronounce medication is right for you.” Sound familiar? It should. Over the last decade, it’s become difficult to watch an hour of television or read a magazine without running into a commercial for the latest cure for (insert disease here). For all of their ubiquity, the majority of ads are shockingly bereft of uniqueness. Bland, boring, and banal, they represent some of the worst of science creative in modern media. Here at ScriptPhD.com, we couldn’t think of a more appropriate category for the next installment of our ongoing advertising series “Selling Science Smartly.” Rather than expound on the plethora of bad pharmaceutical ads, we deconstruct a near-perfect Pfizer campaign out of Canada and interview the executive creative director behind the concept. Read our complete article under the “continue reading” cut.
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Selling Science Smartly: Green Advertising with RIESTER

Much of today’s messaging about the environment, green initiatives and ways for the public to make a difference physically and fiscally are centered around media and advertising. To wit—even amid the deepening recession, one market has seemed to defy the economic downturn: green and environmentally-friendly product launches. Sadly, however, a large and growing subset of the eco-conscious creative collective is enveloped in hyperbole and hubris, a term the industry has labeled “greenwashing” that we will discuss in much greater detail in another article. It was natural then, that as part of our Earth Week coverage, ScriptPhD.com undertook green advertising as part of our continuing “Selling Science Smartly” series. Here, we profile a case study of several impressive (and effective) campaigns by the West Coast-based RIESTER, including work on recycling, clean air, and the first fully-integrated municipal sustainability campaign in the US. We also had an opportunity to speak with RIESTER’s executive team, who provided insights into their creative strategy, why green advertising is more challenging than ever before, the crucial importance that interactive played in their success, and why every agency should be blogging more.

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Selling Science Smartly: Dow Human Element Campaign

When it comes to the interface of art and science, in many ways Madison Avenue finds itself in the position of the early days of sci-fi entertainment, where campy, unrefined productions took decades to evolve into the sophisticated films and shows we enjoy today. To be brutally honest, 95% of current science and technology advertising ranges from hackneyed to terrible; unimaginative, uncreative, uninspired. But here at ScriptPhD.com, we want to focus on the superlative 5%. What makes these campaigns work, what elevates their content above the crowd and most importantly, how do they fit within the theme of the science or industry they are promoting? This is why we are expanding our umbrella of coverage—which has heretofore included film, television and media—to the final frontier: advertising. In our brand new series entitled “Selling Science Smartly,” we will profile the best that science and technology advertising (print, TV, radio, digital and everything in-between) has to offer. Where possible, we will interview the respective campaign’s agencies and creative teams to give you a rarely revealed behind-the-scenes purview into the process and foundation of making these ads. We are proud to launch the series with the exceptional Dow Human Element campaign, including an in-depth interview with Creative Director and mastermind John Claxton of Draftfcb Chicago, who breaks down the thought process behind the creation of the campaign.

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