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SXSW Interactive 2014

Digital as the New Placebo?

The U.S. doesn't rank in the top 50 nations for life expectancy. We have high mortality rates from diseases and injuries, and we’re at the top of lists for risk factors such as obesity and smoking. Yet the pharmaceutical industry spends about $3.5B every year on emails, games, apps and new websites. The iTunes Store has over 14,000 apps designed to promote exercise, healthy eating, relaxation, better sleep and more. Plus there’s tons of data to suggest that digital technologies and interventions actually do improve health.

So what gives? We’ll explore what impact – if any – marketing and technologies have on our health and the real factors that contribute to positive outcomes. Bring your ideas, experiences and questions.

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  1. Do marketing programs and digital technologies actually do anything to promote better health outcomes? How can we know what the impact is?
  2. What is the placebo effect? How does it work?
  3. What is the role of design in impacting health? What are the barriers to adoption of tools and applications that can drive meaningful changes in health?
  4. Are there any technologies and innovations that could play a role in positive health outcomes?
  5. What can health marketers do to impact better outcomes?



Sharon Mandler, VP, Senior Digital Strategist, Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness

Meta Information:

  • Tags: marketing
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Dual
  • Track: Health and Medicine
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate
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