Dana Farber’s New York Times Magazine Ad Raises Awareness on Immunotherapy Research – and Helps Build Their Brand
Between the ads for Manhattan apartments and designer watches in a recent New York Times Magazine issue is a full-page ad from Dana Farber Cancer Institute. It highlights their work in developing immunotherapies, including their pioneering work in identifying the role of protein PD-L1 in cancer cells. With the recent approval of two checkpoint inhibitor therapeutics (nivolumab, pembrolizumab), interest in the development of this class of immunotherapy for cancer has spilled over into the mainstream, so it’s a natural focus for Dana Farber’s ad.
Let’s look at what works with this marketing campaign. The print ad has a link to a dedicated microsite (www.discovercarebelieve.org/pd-1) that includes content for the general public (patient testimonial videos, social media posts), researchers (technical White Papers), and potential donors. The institution launched DiscoverCareBelieve.org as part of a specific campaign to “to illustrate what sets Dana-Farber apart — in research discovery… in expert, compassionate care… and in our strong belief in progress for people with cancer everywhere.” With over four million readers, the New York Times Magazine is a great choice to reach multiple stakeholder groups with a single print ad.
How about the website? Dana Farber uses a microsite rather than their main site. Creating a stand-alone microsite does have some advantages over incorporating new content into existing sites:
- It frees designers from the style and navigation constraints of the main website.
- It’s easier to improve the PageRank of a microsite compared to a large established website.
- Microsites can be especially effective for product launches or promotions that occur over a defined period of time.
- It’s often easier to implement a microsite as a stand-alone project compared to a new section of a website.
The microsite’s navigation and style is similar to Dana Farber’s main site, so design constraints weren’t an issue. The PageRank is currently lower than the main site for several keywords, but potentially could be raised more easily than the main site. It seems likely Dana Farber wanted a stand-alone site with analytics that could be tied directly to the “Discover. Care. Believe” campaign. Of course, the domain name itself reinforces the campaign message, something that “www.dana-farber.org” doesn’t do.