Trade shows offer valuable opportunity for pharmaceutical brands to reach targeted audiences in specific ways, and often that means thinking beyond the booth. While exhibit booths and distributed collateral ensure share-of-voice beside competitors, it’s also important to consider opportunities for unique visibility away from the competition. Our recent campaign with Amgen was designed to gain visibility for their BiTE® (Bispecific T Cell Engager) technology, a new targeted immuno-oncology platform to help advance the fight against cancer, at the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), in Chicago.



The integrated Amgen campaign at ASCO used a mix of traditional media and experiential marketing to reach event attendees as well as educate the general audience about Amgen and cancer research. The highlight of the campaign was the experiential component, a series of chalk art paintings both at the Amgen booth at McCormick Center and around Chicago’s lakefront landmark museums near Shedd Aquarium. We tapped local Chicago-based artists to create three-dimensional artwork depicting how BiTE® helps to fight cancer cells in the body.


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With extensive knowledge of the Chicago market and a long history of campaigns at ASCO, the EMC Events team readily handled location scouting, permitting, working within ASCO guidelines, identifying local artists, and managing the activation onsite. The two external locations were around Grant Park, at the Museum Bridge and Shedd Aquarium. Each location was selected strategically—Museum Bridge was on the walkway to the Chicago Autism Speaks Walk, and Shedd Aquarium is a high traffic tourist area. The onsite brand ambassador served as a valuable source of background for the chalk art and to reinforce the brand messaging face-to-face with passersby.


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By managing both the creative and logistics for the activation, we were able to provide Amgen a turnkey option for promoting BiTE® at ASCO. Typically, pharmaceutical brands operate on longer timelines and it takes time for campaign and creative approvals. In this campaign, however, our team worked together with the client team over the course of a few weeks to ideate, develop and activate the campaign.




The activation created an “Instagram-able” moment, encouraging ASCO attendees and the public to share images of the artwork and #BiTEtheEngager on social media. As an added community engagement element to the activation, Amgen pledged financial support for science education in local Chicago schools based on the number of shares across social platforms.

Experiential marketing proved to be an extremely valuable marketing format for Amgen Oncology. Combined, the activations saw more than 1,250 live impressions and nearly 300 distributed informational post cards, hundreds of social shares, and consistent traffic to the booth from ASCO’s more than 40,000 attendees. Following the event, the artwork (on canvas) will be placed in Amgen’s headquarters new Visitors lobby, in Thousand Oaks, CA.


Let us know what challenges you face marketing at trade shows!