PAAB’s very own “Refreshed Assets”

lwarburt    November 9, 2015

Title of Post: PAAB’s very own “Refreshed Assets”

Industry: Pharmaceuticals

Name of Contact: Ray Chepesiuk, Commissioner (CEO) of The Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board (PAAB)

Web References:  Youtube, PMQC, PAABWikipedia, comScore, Brand watch


Social media marketing  is the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites. Canadians remain the most on-line internet individuals worldwide and lead the world in key engagement metrics on desk top computers according to Yet the pharmaceutical industry has, up until now, lagged behind in getting on board with social media marketing, perhaps due to the real and perceived contraints imposed by industry regulations as stated by BrandWatch.

Canada’s Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board, PAAB, is  a self-regulating organization  which exercises regulatory authority over the pharmaceutical industry companies and their advertising.

The PAAB mission is : paab_b&wTo provide a preclearance review that fosters trustworthy healthcare communications within a regulatory framework for the benefit of all stakeholders. And the mandate of the PAAB is an independent review agency whose primary role is to ensure that healthcare product communication for prescription, non-prescription, biological and natural health products is accurate, balanced and evidence-based, and reflects current and best practice. The PAAB also monitors trends in health product advertising and promotion and adjusts its code and practices as required to fulfill its mandate.”

Regulatory agencies have an important role in being present on social media to both engage and communicate information to and from their clients. Firstly, an important role is being accessible via various platforms to their clients, providing resources/guidance and expertise, news, updates. Secondly and especially important for PAAB  (an advertising advisory board) is to show an example of social media presence in and of itself.

Institute Report on Social Media: Role Regulatory Agencies play in Healthcare/Social Media via YouTube.


In a recent interview with Ray Chepesiuk, Commissioner of PAAB, he spoke about PAAB’s own social media “marketing”. Rather than a traditional “sell” social media marketing campaign, PAAB’s unique role is the promotion of self regulation, as PAAB itself is a mechanism for self regulation within the pharma industry. The main objective for PAAB is “reach” to their clients.  The social media marketing undertaken by PAAB is truly information and resource based. PAAB’s clients, the pharmaceutical company marketers look to PAAB to provide guidance, assistance and ultimately approval for their pharmaceutical advertising campaigns.

In fact, within just the past few months, PAAB  has launched an impressive refresh of their presence on their social media platforms. Prior social media platform usage was reviewed and the channels PAAB is now more active on are those which held the most promise of reach and engagement. The video below explains the new and improved PAAB social media strategy .  “Refreshed Assets”  and can be found on both PAAB’s YouTube and web site social media channels.


As mentioned in the Refreshed  Assets video, PAAB has currently regrouped and ramped up their activity with social media on several different social media platforms including:

The PAAB website. paab websitePAAB’s website, the center point flagship of their social media presence, includes numerous resources for their clients.  From an overview of PAAB’s mission and mandate to resources including the PAAB code, research advisory and guidance. Client services, e-file submission, news and updates all with a positive “Getting you to Yes” partnership approach.


Two Linkedin Pages (Corporate and Group)linkedin_logoUntitledlimk

The PAAB group page provides a channel in which PAAB can communicate updates, the PAAB guidelines and news that may be relevant to its members who are pharmaceutical professionals in Canada involved in developing or reviewing advertising promotional materials.  Clients have the opportunity to network with other professionals in their field and remain updated on news worthy items.


Twitter unnamedUntitledtwit paabPAAB’s Twitter presence is currently being relaunched. With social media marketing plans to include tweeted reminders on events, workshops and expanded content on relevant industry news and updates, clients will be able to stay current.


YouTube YouTube_SquareYOUTUBE PAABPAAB’s social media marketing plan on YouTube will include providing relevant video content that their clients may find resourceful.




An interesting and useful social media resource which PAAB  has recently enhanced is an anonymous Ask PAAB special feature which removes all of the identifying information about the sender. Pharmaceutical company marketers can submit questions and the highly trained PAAB staff will provide answers which meet Code standards for promotion of pharmaceutical products. Clients are also able to view the existing Q&A for questions which have been previously submitted to “Ask PAAB”. This service provides a wealth of information for the pharma marketer and anonymity encourages openness with the questions, helping PAAB tune into the “real” industry questions, trends and challenges their clients face.




PAAB  is currently investing more into their social media “marketing. Soon there will be new and exciting content for PAAB’s clients through PAAB’s Refreshed Assets campaign, including a robust content calendar, monthly tips and case reviews, continued quarterly newsletter “PAAB Views“, updates on all things PAAB related via LinkedIn and Twitter. Additionally, tweet reminders on submissions, events, workshops and expanded content on relevant industry news and updates will be sent. The launch of this increased social media campaign is explained in a recently released PAAB Speaks video, which can be found on their website and Youtube channel and has been broadcast on Twitter.

Historically, with industry and regulatory bodies, there can be a somewhat adversarial underlying tension from those they regulate. By virtue of association/connection and heightened awareness, PAAB’s social media marketing via multiple platforms may help instill a deeper respect and acceptance of the rules and result in better company behavior, avoiding adversarial situations in which companies attempt to find exceptions to externally imposed rules.

PAAB has developed an innovative social media marketing approach by:

  • ensuring “reach” visibility and accessibility via different social media platforms where their clients may be
  • providing relevant, helpful information and resource based content
  • the creation of forums for discussion that include anonymous submissions to allow complete openness
  • extending the commitment of authentic partnership to their clients



The future of PAAB’s social media marketing will certainly involve analytics of their new “refreshed assets” approach and innovative applications of these learning will surely follow.





Lessons for others:

  1. Social media marketing by regulatory boards provide their clients with the enhanced service of accessibility.
  2. Staying current, informed and present on social media is a vital part of a regulatory board’s commitment to their clients needs.
  3. Innovative engagement via social media channels may lessen the underlying adversarial undercurrents of a regulatory board and their client(s) through the “meeting” on various platforms.


Submitted by: LWarburton, Student, Social Media for Business Performance Program, University of Waterloo

To contact the author of this entry please email:

If you have any concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance, University of Waterloo