Hype check: Pebble Watch




I have to admit. I bought the Pebble Watch on a lark. I wanted to get a jump on understanding the smart watch category in advance of the Apple Watch, and the Pebble seemed like a logical place to start. I had researched the Moto 360, Samsung’s Android Wear, and a few others, but I gravitated towards the Pebble due to it’s reported battery life and low entry cost of $99 dollars. I had no idea what to expect performance wise. I’ve used the Pebble for about 45 days now and I’m pleasantly pleased with the gadget. I thought it would be just a gimmicky toy, but it’s utility and features have really won me over. I chose the white Pebble mostly because I liked the look compared to some of the other available colors.

Out of the box, I wasn’t that thrilled with the Pebble. it’s predominately a plastic device and while the build quality is good and the fit and finish of the components are solid, no one is going to mistake this watch for a more expensive price point. Pebble does make a $199 dollar Pebble Steel version, but I didn’t opt for that model. When I first donned the watch out of the box, in the default config, I absolutely hated it. The band that comes with the Pebble feels nice and seems to be made of a high quality composite material, but the thinness of the band made the watch’s overall look horrendous. The watch face is a but long and wonky to begin with, and the thin band accentuated all of the warts inherent to the design. I immediately swapped out the band for a thicker one that I sometimes use on one of my Hamilton watches, and it made an immediate difference in the look – for the better. The Pebble comes equipped with a 144×168 pixel e-ink screen, which, while not in the same weight class visually as an LCD or OLED screen, was more than adequate for the job. The e-ink screen is also the main reason why the Pebble has such great batter life compared to its LCD equipped bretheren. Quick tip – When picking watch faces for the Pebble, straight line designs styles tend to work best (like block letters and numbers). Apps and watch faces with lots of curves are where the e-ink screen really shows its limitations graphically. One other note, the watch face is very hard to read when wearing polarized sunglasses. Something about the face coating doesn’t work well with my Ray Bans. Not a deal breaker, but it’s a niggle.

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Pharma Still Sucks At Digital: A Manifesto


In the movie Jerry Maguire, Tom Cruise’s character has a crisis of conscience. One evening during a league meeting crafts a manifesto of sorts about how sports agents, colleagues, and competitors, could all do a better job serving the best interests of their clients. In the fever pitch of finishing this document, he distributes copies to every single person at the meeting and is greeted with uproarious applauses of approval by his fellow agents.

A week later Jerry had lost all but one of his clients, and his career was in ruins.

Hopefully this won’t be my Jerry Maguire moment, but much like Tom Cruise’s character, the manifesto that follows is probably long overdue because it’s 2014 and pharma still stinks at digital marketing.

Having been in the industry for 18+ years now, I continue to observe the same recurring challenges that plague the business and severely impact the quality of the work. These challenges typically take the following forms.

On the agency side:

  • Work is often done in silos: With little to no collaboration between agency teams the end result is almost always very transactional programs. Media, web, mobile, social, PR, etc., are more often than not being managed by different agencies with little or no incentive to cooperate and collaborate
  • Ideas are transactional: Isolated thinking more often than not translates into an extremely low value ideas with little to no enduring value or utility.
  • Agencies are built to sell: They approach work as a zero sum game. Less for you is more for me. Instead of focusing on brand growth, they are incentivized to try and take revenue from other agency partners.
  • Teams are highly suspicious of one another: Internal or external, the territorial behaviors associated with the previously mentioned challenges kill the scale of a program, as working with another group or agency puts your own revenue at risk.

It’s incredibly easy to focus on the agency side of things, but all is not rosy on the client side of things either. Agencies are, for the most part, a reflection of the clients that manage them, and their behavior is a result of the leaders who manage them.

Some challenges on the client side include:

  • High turnover rates = short term management: Most clients don’t stay in their roles longer than 18-24 months, so programs aren’t designed, built, or managed for mid-long term success.
  • An over-emphasis on innovation: The hunt for ‘the next big thing’ is a constant churn, and comically ineffective. Pharma clients typically define innovation as “new” instead of “better.” Any innovative program by that definition typically can’t build the kind of meaningful scale needed to be effective in the short term, as the audiences and utilization need to be grown. That lack of immediate scale leads to, you guessed it, the eventual hunt for the next ‘next big thing.’
  • Clients are built to buy: Given the relative lack of marketing experience most pharma clients have when they enter their marketing roles, the focus is almost entirely on generating tactics. This leads to an“ I’ll know it when I see it” culture that constantly churns through vendors and pitches with the end result being little to no cohesion in a marketing plan.
  • “Vendor” mindset: The end result of all of this is a disposable attitude towards a client’s agency partners. Any effort to provide strategic council is often rebuffed, and if a client is counseled that an “exciting “ idea may not fit with the overall brand strategy, the consequence for the agency is to be told “if you won’t build this for me, I’ll get someone who will.”


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My favorite line from the piece, got added AFTER it ran for days.

“Correction: This video was actually created by marketing students at Berghs School of Communication, and is not made by Google, nor is Google Gesture a real service. We updated the story below and apologize for the error.”


5 Key Takeaways From the FDA’s Draft Guidance On Presenting Risk/Benefit With Character Limitations


The FDA recently released two documents providing draft guidance on the utilization of particular aspects of social media. The first was entitled, Internet/Social Media Platforms: Correcting Independent Third-Party Misinformation about prescription Drugs and Medical Devices. The second was entitled, Internet/Social Media Limitations – Presenting Risk And Benefit Information for Prescription Drugs and Medical Devices, which is the focus of this post.

While not as clear or concise as their other previous guidance releases, there are 5 key things digital marketers need to be aware of, some of which potentially muddying the waters more then originally planned.

1. Brands may present product claims within character–limited setting, but must include several elements to be considered compliant.

If and when a brand or product chooses to put claim information inside of a tweet, the claim must contain several elements, including:

  • The product and generic name
  • Appropriate balance for the claim being made
  • A direct link to a page containing more complete discussion of the associated risks of the product

The example used by the FDA is for a fictitious product, NoFocus, with the structure of the tweet illuminating the requirements.

NoFocus (rememberzineHCL) for mild to moderate memory loss; may cause seizures in patients with a seizure disorder www.nofocus.com/risk

When presenting balance to a claim, the brand or product does not need to present the full risk statement, but instead is required to communicate, “the most serious risks associated with the product.” Read More…