New York City, NY — As an industry, the worst is behind us. The patent cliff that we’ve been focused on since 2008 peaked last year with the expiration of patents for Lipitor, Zyprexa, Plavix, Seroquel, Lexapro, Singulair, and others.

The years ahead will look very different, shaped by commoditization, changing marketplaces and innovations in biologics.

Yet, I can’t help but think back the heady days of the Lipitor boom for a guide. Sure, the budgets were big, the market massive, but some of the tactics they used were decidedly small – aimed at creating community in that big, dispersed marketplace.

Lipitor’s approach: Connect with Boomers, their core market, around their ability to change the world (again). From saying no to war, to civil rights and beyond, no generation has been more powerful as a voice for change than baby boomers. Pfizer’s goal was to spark a movement that would inspire boomers to action through a celebration of their unique legacy of music, culture and outspoken spirit.

What they created: The Boomer Coalition

It launched with micro events all over New York and went big at the Oscars, with live events featuring Boomer celebrities and a first-commercial-break tribute to those we had lost to “CVD.”


The new term was intentional – trying to prompt people to look up and talk about America’s number one killer – cardiovascular disease – in new ways.

The coalition took flower power hearses through the streets of New York, sponsored concerts and events around the country, and even got designers involved to make exclusive items to sell on the website.


In all, 360 million people were engaged by the experience, 9 million went to the website, and 100,000 signed up as card–carrying members.

The investment was big, but the idea was replicable at all sizes: Pfizer set out to create an experience people would want to join. They painted a big picture – a fight for a generation – but celebrated the little actions that were easy for people to take along the way.

Posted by: Leigh Householder

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for shaping the company’s perspective on the next era of healthcare marketing. Through thought leadership, strategic innovation workshops and new products and capabilities, Leigh focuses on identifying marketing approaches that will fuel that new era and generate significant growth for clients. Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for over 17 years. She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she had several leadership roles at one of our agencies, GSW. There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business. Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes. A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice, Leigh also was recognized as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.