Vince Parry

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Jump to: navigation, search Vince Parry, Chief Branding officer

Vince Parry is the "chief branding officer" at InVentiv Communications-InChord Communications. His "genius" has been to help pharmaceutical companies market drugs to healthy people by creating new condition categories or redifining aspects of conditions requiring medication.

Marketing Campaigns

Le monde diplomatique article

Le Monde Diplomatique, May 2006[1], reports:

Vince Parry is the cutting edge of that global marketing. An expert in advertising who works from his mid-town Manhattan office in New York, Parry specialises in the most sophisticated form of medicine salesmanship: he works with drug companies to help create new diseases.
In an astonishing publication, The Art of Branding a Condition, he recently revealed the ways in which companies are involved in fostering the creation of medical disorders (1). Sometimes a little-known condition gets fresh attention, sometimes an old disease is redefined and renamed, and sometimes a whole new dysfunction is created. Parry’s personal favourites include erectile dysfunction, adult attention deficit disorder, and pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder (which is so controversial a classification that some researchers say it doesn’t exist).
Branding disease
With rare candour Parry explains how pharmaceutical companies take the lead, not just in branding such blockbuster drugs as Prozac and Viagra, but in branding the very conditions that create the markets for those drugs. Under the leadership of the drug marketers, Madison Avenue experts such as Parry collude with medical experts to “create new ideas about illnesses and conditions”. The goal, Parry says, is to give drug company customers around the world “a new way to think about things”. The aim is to make a direct link between the condition and the company’s medicine, to maximise its sales.

Congressional Hearings

From the Nov 2005 Congressional Hearings[2]:

3. The techniques used by pharmaceutical companies and advertising agencies are misleading.
(a) Creating a culture of disease and fear
Pharmaceutical companies and their advertising agencies strive to convince people that they are ill, and to invent new classes of illness. For example, in an article titled “The Art of Branding a Condition,” Vince Parry, a marketing executive, discusses how pharmaceutical companies are “fostering the creation of a condition and aligning it with a product.”[10][3] An article in Reuters Business Insight explains that drug companies can “create new disease markets” through “the medicalization of many natural processes” which are “worthy of medical intervention.” “Pharmaceutical companies are searching for new disorders,” the article continues, “based on extensive analysis of unexploited market opportunities (whether recognized today or promoted as such tomorrow). The coming years will bear greater witness to the corporate sponsored creation of disease.”[11] This often involves, according to Vince Parry, “elevating the importance of an existing condition,”[12] or “raising the level of awareness about something we don’t even know we have until we began looking at it further.”[13][4]

Memorable Quotes

Vince Parry describes how the interaction between a doctor and patient can be used for marketing purposes.

In another technique that's especially useful with brands promoted to consumers, doctors observe a focus group of patients from behind a two-way mirror. While the doctors listen to patients discuss interactions with their physicians and experiences they've had with products, they are unaware that they themselves are the research subjects. In a session held after the patient group is finished, the doctors discuss what the patients said about their experiences.
What the doctors don't realize is that they are revealing information about how they view the brand's vitality: how the brand helps the doctor-patient relationship, how trustworthy the brand is, and how it may be at odds with the way it is being promoted iconographically in print.
It sounds like we're tricking them, but actually, we are distracting them to behave naturally instead of the way they think they should behave. They don't know they're engaged in a market research activity, and that frees them to be themselves and share more valuable observations about the brand-observations that our clients can use to evaluate and effectively manage brand equity.[5]

References, Resources and Contact

Articles by Vince Parry

  • Vince Parry, The Art of Branding a Condition, Medical Marketing & Media, London, 2003.



  1. Alan Cassels and Ray Moynihan, US: selling to the worried well:Pharmaceuticals for healthy people, Le monde diplomatique, May 2006. (LMD synopsis: US pharmaceutical companies have long known that the potential market for their products is limited by the finite number of sick people; so they have turned to the healthy for further expansion of their markets, using exploitative, fear-inducing advertising techniques.)
  2. Testimony of Gary Ruskin, Executive Director of Commercial Alert Before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Hearings on Direct-to-Consumer Prescription Drug Advertising, 2 November 2005.
  3. Vince Parry, The Art of Branding a Condition, Medical Marketing & Media, London, 2003.
  4. Ruskin, ibid.
  5. Sybil Shalo, Industry Insider: Close Encounters of the Brand Kind, Pharmaceutical Executive, 1 Aug 2002