raced to develop a Covid-19 vaccine while the world looked on, the pharmaceutical giant was also quietly at work on remaking its brand.
On Tuesday, the company is launching its first major rebrand in decades with a new logo, an effort to highlight the company’s shift from a diversified health care giant to one more focused on creating prescription drugs and vaccines that prevent and cure disease.
“With Pfizer’s increased commitment to breakthrough science, now is the time to update our identity to reflect that reality,” Pfizer Chief Executive Officer
said in a statement.
The logo, 18 months in the making, replaces the oval, pill-like shape that had enclosed the Pfizer name since 1948 with a helix design to the left of the company name. It retains current elements, including the name, font and blue color. The company is promoting the new design with an ad campaign.
While pharma giants tend to focus on marketing individual products through highly regulated ads and public relations, building corporate brand equity is also important to companies that rely on health care professionals to recommend and authorize the use of their prescription drugs.
Pfizer’s brand refresh marks its recent shift from being a diversified business to a biopharma business focused on breakthrough science, Mr. Bourla said in a note to employees announcing the new identity.
In November, Pfizer spun off Upjohn, its division for off-patent drugs, and combined it with Mylan NV. In 2019, it spun off its consumer health business, which sold brands like Advil and ChapStick, merging it with the consumer health arm of
Although the branding effort was under way long before the pandemic, the company is introducing its new logo and marketing materials as its achievements in developing a vaccine with
are widely celebrated. The timing is strategic.
“This is a rare moment in time for the company and the industry,” said
chief corporate affairs officer at Pfizer. “It’s important when making a visual change to do so from a position of strength.”
Throughout the pandemic, consumers have garnered more positive feelings toward the pharmaceutical industry and shown an interest in how drugs and vaccines come to market, prompting historically reticent pharma giants to promote their corporate brands and communicate more openly about their internal processes.
Pfizer paused its rebranding efforts in 2020 to focus on its corporate marketing and communications around the pandemic and its work to manufacture and distribute a vaccine, Ms. Susman said.
In November, as its vaccine neared regulatory approval, Pfizer once again turned its attention to the new identity, moving quickly to complete and reveal the logo and new marketing materials.
“Once it was clear that we would be bringing forward this vaccine it was an ‘Aha!’ moment that it would be the great proof-point of our new purpose statement, that we want to be about prevention and more than treatment,” said Ms. Susman.
Pfizer was contemplating a brand refresh as early as January 2019, shortly after Mr. Bourla was named CEO. Early that year, Ms. Susman met with him and suggested the timing might be right for a rebrand.
She and her team embarked on a robust research effort to find a logo that would demonstrate the company’s elevated scientific mission. Pfizer polled over 4,000 patients and 2,000 doctors across multiple countries, and held 12 internal focus groups across regions where the company operates, she said. The company whittled 200 designs down to four and eventually selected the winning logo.
As part of the rebrand, the company will begin a video and paid media effort that carries the theme of its existing “Science Will Win” campaign. The video features scientists in personal protective gear hard at work while a narrator reads a script that humanizes science. “When you want to save humans from disease, ask science,” she says. “It will make the breakthrough because science is relentless. It never gives up. It keeps asking questions until it finds what it’s looking for.” The ad ends with the new logo and the company’s mantra, “…in the end, science will win.”
Brooklyn-based agency Team handled creative work on the rebrand, while Landor & Fitch, part of
PLC, helped develop the brand strategy and accompanying narrative.
Write to Alexandra Bruell at [email protected]
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