EconomyFrom Mexico to the world: Dr. Simi is the...

From Mexico to the world: Dr. Simi is the viral phenomenon in concerts. What does Similar Pharmacies think of this?

Neither flowers nor bras. The new ‘tradition’ of young Mexicans is to throw Dr. Simi stuffed animals at concerts. But it is not just a local joke, but a cultural appropriation and a living example of the so-called top of mind , that is, that a brand is in the mind -and in the heart- of the consumer.

“Mexico is an album of prints. There are several elements that define popular culture and the botarga or the character of Dr. Simi is already one of them. If it were a brand that people didn’t like, I wouldn’t give the doll away in a moment of entertainment,” says Francisco Montoya, CEO of Wunderman Thompson Health.

It all started with the Corona Capital 2021 in Mexico City. During her musical performance, Norwegian singer Aurora Aksnes picked up and hugged a stuffed animal of Dr. Simi that a fan threw at her, not imagining that this act would become one of the most memorable of the festival and the start of a viral trend.

Now more fans consider that underwear or cards are no longer the objects they want to share with their favorite artists. As if it were an Oscar, Dr. Simi’s stuffed animal became a new symbol of gratitude and recognition, in addition to the ambassador of Similar Pharmacies.

In this select group of artists who have received the doll is The Strokes, Coldplay, Maroon 5, The Killers, Interpol, Gorillaz, Mac DeMarco, Epica, Chvrches, Los Tigres del Norte, Lady Gaga, Rosalía and Yuridia. Consequently, Dr. Simi crossed borders.

“Personalization continues to be something that people like and that will continue to attract the consumer. Using a botarga or the stuffed animal undoubtedly humanizes the brand and to a certain extent makes it funny. Humor will always be an attractive element”, mentions Mario Alberto Nava, marketing specialist and professor at the Banking and Commercial School (EBC).

A lucky break

“It was very unexpected for us,” reveals Víctor González Herrera, vice president of Farmacias Similares. “I don’t know who he is (the fan who threw the first doll), but we are trying to contact him to thank him. That’s where the trend started, it has been completely organic, nothing to do with us. That is what fills us with the most pride and we love that people love Dr. Simi so much.”

Although, at first, this character had some trolling – in the 2000s there were young people who brought down the botarga – it is interesting to see the change of feeling towards him. Today, sympathy for Dr. Simi responds to the fact that he is clearly Mexican; in his physical appearance he is funny, good-natured and encourages closeness even with those who are not his final consumer, says Rodrigo Díez, director of the Padre Group agency.

On the other hand, although botargas may seem old-fashioned and their use pursues specific and local commercial objectives, they can generate great notoriety on social networks, as is also the case with the Alpura cow that dances break and is the protagonist of several videos on TikTok, Facebook and Instagram.

“User-generated marketing strategies can be more successful and viral if the brand knows how to react in time and take advantage of them. From the fact of recording it and posting it on social networks to making the friends you go with laugh. Any opportunity to entertain and have fun should be taken advantage of!” says Díez.

In his opinion, Farmacias Similares has been able to capitalize on the fact of becoming a representation of Mexico and has shown a fantastic use of digital media, since Dr. Simi accumulates almost a million followers on TikTok and has almost 7 million followers. likes. In addition, part of his success is due to the fact that the character is tremendously versatile, not only does he dance to various musical genres, but people have dressed him as a metalhead, a leather icon, a priest, a firefighter and an astronaut.

“At the end of the day it’s positive publicity. It is very difficult to measure if this is benefiting us in sales, but it is clearly helping something,” says González.

A golden opportunity

Nava points out that Farmacias Similares has a golden opportunity. Even if throwing stuffed animals goes out of style, now it can reach new audiences.

“We find the old man in the same way at the Rosalía concert as at the Rammstein concert, which allows them to have contact with a confined, pre-filtered and hyper-segmented audience with a certain attitudinal cut. The brand building capacity is very high”, says Díez.

However, the brand must be careful, Montoya points out. When these viral phenomena occur, it is possible that the interaction with the character is outside the standards or the central message that the company wants to communicate.

It is recommended that the pharmacy chain highlight what is behind this doll. That they are manufactured in Cinnia, a business project in Puebla that employs 400 people with sensory, intellectual and/or motor disabilities.

It’s a good time for Similar Pharmacies. It managed to position itself in the pharmaceutical market thanks to its network of offices and the sale of generic drugs at a lower price compared to that of its competitors.

In 2019, it had 6,746 offices, but the pandemic boosted its sales and it closed 2020 with 7,063 offices and 107.6 million medical consultations, according to data from its Best Foundation. Today, its pharmacies are in Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina. He also owns Pharmaceutical Plastics, Similar Pharmaceutical Transports and Dr. Simi’s Health Systems.

With information from Gabriela Lara

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