PocketPills offers a literal insider perspective on online pharma

Who: PocketPills, with Will for creative, with Timelapse Media House for production (directed by Stuart Gillies).

What: A national campaign (excluding Quebec) for the new(ish) online pharmacy brand. It’s the first campaign in the company’s three-year history, said Melissa Guillergan, PocketPills’ director of brand.

When & Where: The campaign launched this week, running for 12 weeks across TV (with an emphasis on news and sports programming) as well as social and streaming platforms including YouTube. “Making our first foray into TV is a huge step for us,” said Guillergan. “I know a lot of people say ‘TV’s dead,’ but you can’t ignore it—especially if you want to build that top-funnel brand awareness.”

Why: PocketPills is the largest online pharmacy brand in Canada, with 150,000 members and 26 pharmacists across the country. It has multiple users, from university students who want to take a “set it and forget it” approach to birth control, to adults who are playing a dual caregiver role for kids and older parents.

Not surprisingly for a first-time advertiser, the goal here is about building brand awareness and presenting PocketPills as a viable option for Canadians’ prescription medication needs. “There are two hurdles for us as a brand new company: One is [making consumers aware] they can order their medications online and get them delivered for free, and the second is who they’re going to choose,” said Guillergan, who joined PocketPills in March after spending nearly four years with Telus as senior marketing communications manager.

“We want to get our story out there and tell Canadians that there’s an easier way to get prescriptions for yourself and your loved ones,” she said. “It’s another thing you can literally do from the comfort of home and on your phone.”

Why now: The campaign comes as shopping online for… well, just about everything, has become entrenched consumer behaviour. But there’s also a need to inform and educate consumers about PocketPills’ and present it as a safe and viable alternative to brick-and-mortar pharmacies. Health Canada has stated that 74% of online pharmacies in North America are “not trustworthy,” and that 74% of Canadian sites source medications from outside of Canada.

How: The creative provides a unique perspective on Canadians’ pharmaceutical needs, with all three 15-second spots shot from the perspective of inside a household medicine cabinet. As we watch, we see a frazzled mom, a caregiver and a young man with a cat allergy all come to the cabinet seeking relief.

The company’s new internal positioning “delightfully human”—part of brand identity work by Will—formed the basis for the entire creative approach, said Guillergan. “The reason I gravitated towards this concept is because of the surprise and delight factor,” she said. “I truly feel that the last thing you would expect from a pharmacy, let alone an online pharmacy, is creative that is not only relatable, but also funny.”

In some instances, PocketPills is running :30s with two of the spots stitched together to demonstrate the company’s two main purchase drivers: Automatic refills and pre-sorted pills.

And we quote: “We took a different approach with this client compared to its competitors in the category. Using humour and a lighthearted tone based on real human insights, we were able to convey the warm and approachable side of the customer-centric PocketPills brand; an important aspect that’s often lacking from others in the pharmaceutical category.” —Lisa Lebedovich, creative director, Will

Chris Powell