Move Over, #YOLO; Pfizer Brings the #FOGO

By Shawn Paul Wood 


If someone asked you what sort of business would spark the next social media trend, odds are that the word pharmaceuticals would not come to mind.

Pfizer hopes to defy convention by capitalizing on its “Get Old” campaign–launched back in 2012–and introducing “FOGO“: fear of getting old.


The company thought that the initiative, intended to stimulate conversations on subjects like the challenges of aging, needed a boost. As reported in The New York Times, they traded original AOR SS&K in an effort to go HUGE.

Nearly nine out of 10 people who live in the U.S. believe they will live a long life, yet 40 percent believe being old is something to fear due to potential health and financial concerns, according to Pfizer’s Get Old survey in 2013 (and this press release).

Additionally, despite rising rates of chronic disease estimated to affect nearly half (49%) the U.S. population by 2025, survey respondents expressed a surprising degree of comfort with the current state of their physical health, with 88% reported to be either “at ease,” “optimistic” or “proud” of their physical health.

When visiting, consumers are asked to “Conquer your fears of getting old” and “Fear less. Live get-old-logo-smalllonger.”

A novel quiz then introduces us to the hopeful hashtag #FOGO. 

Pfizer is spending about $3 million a year on the “Get old” initiative, which is meant to help burnish the Pfizer image rather than promote Pfizer prescription drugs or over-the-counter products. It is only lightly branded, carrying small advisories that read, “Brought to you by Pfizer.”

Pfizer (and HUGE’s D.C. office) wants to spread the message regarding FOGO using everything from its YouTube channel to its online press kit. But why?

“This is not about selling a product, it’s about our philosophy, reintroducing ourselves,” said Sally Susman, the executive vice president for corporate affairs of Pfizer who is overseeing the initiative. The goal, she said, is “a steady sense of engagement, not over-marketing or overselling.”

“The idea is that rather than telling people what we think all the time, we want to listen,” she added. “We want people to pull this to them, not have it pushed at them.”

As of this date, Drake has yet to promise a related track.