Approval of its COVID-19 vaccine is just one of the scenarios AstraZeneca has harnessed video with success
It was the announcement of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine being approved that really showcased the value of the pharmaceutical company’s investment into video.
“The vaccine approval was an event we knew was coming but we weren’t sure when the government would announce it. And we knew we needed to respond,” AstraZeneca Australia head of communications, Melissa Millard, told CMO.
“We’re bound by the Therapeutic Goods Act, which means we’re not allowed to communicate directly with the public about any of our medicines, including vaccines. However, when there are significant regulatory milestones, we are permitted to do something. This was clearly a significant regulatory milestone and important in light of the global pandemic.
“Today, everyone has an opinion on AstraZeneca and wants to ask about what is going on. We had to respond quickly to being in the public eye, not just with our key customers or doctors.”
Given such media and public interest, having a facility to give AstraZeneca’s country president, Liz Chatwin, the ability to respond quickly and professionally, was paramount. Video became the primary method of connecting with the Australian media and public following the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration’s approval of the vaccine.
Millard’s team set up a meeting room as an in-house broadcast studio, commandeering an AstraZeneca media wall, lighting, sound equipment, mixer, camera operator and Zoom and holding a virtual press conference around the vaccine approval announcement. Communications revolved around one-to-one interviews.
Millard said it was the first time AstraZeneca had been able to use video to make important external connections. The set-up was backed by the pharmaceutical company’s investment into the Shootsta video editing and production platform.
“Things were happening so quickly. Doing a real-life conference is hard to do anyway, let alone during that time [of COVID-19 restrictions]. Getting media to one location is logistically challenging,” Millard said. “Developing something so professional with the help of Shootsta was so important. It wasn’t something we were thinking of even six months earlier.
“We could present a very professional image while doing those interviews… It was really important for us to showcase the company’s professionalism and be responsive to what media needed.”