The world’s biggest media icon, Kim Kardashian, jumped into the pharmaceutical space this week posting a photo of herself holding a bottle of the morning sickness treatment, Diclegis, to Instagram. Kim has an Instagram following of 40 million. For context, that is more eyes than the typical press release and top tier news outlet NYTimes.com get. Beyond sheer reach numbers, the approach to launch this campaign on social media also likely hit more females ages 25-35, Diclegis’ exact target market, than any traditional media campaign could have.
The chatter didn’t stop on Instagram. Before Duchesnay USA, the company that makes Diclegis, issued a press release the morning following the photo, media was a buzz. As expected with a celebrity as polarizing as Kim, the reactions were not all positive, taking the focus off the potential benefits of the drug. Some questioned whether or not this was a paid endorsement noting how Kim would stop at nothing, including her pregnancy, to make a dollar. A handful of articles also ran on whether or not Diclegis was safe, drawing attention to a similar product being pulled from the market in the 80s.
Aligning yourself, your brand or your company with such a high profile celebrity may have huge pay offs. These pay offs can be even greater when that celebrity, like Kim, has a genuine connection to the cause and so directly reaches your exact target audience. But preparation for the potential backlash from celebrity haters is key. Ample thought should be put in to any and all potential outcomes and a serious look at the risk/reward ratio should be considered.