Active Implants Campaign

Active Implants logo over an image of a doctor examining a patient's knee
Public Relations Society of America, Los Angeles Chapter, PRSA PRISM Award - logo Ragan's Health Care PR and Marketing Awards 2018, Honorable Mention, PR or Media Relations Campaign - logo

open quotation marks close quotation marks I have always believed in the power of PR, and this campaign far outpaced our many other trial recruitment efforts. Not only did PR contribute to 80 percent of patients screened, but PR tactics also resulted in the highest percentage of people consented to enter the study. We can't thank the Merryman Communications team enough for all their efforts to help enroll our two clinical trials.

Adam Klyce
Vice President of Marketing & Clinical Operations
Active Implants

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New Relief for Knee Pain: A Clinical Trial Recruitment Campaign

Millions of people live with knee pain so severe it affects their job or prevents them from doing the things they love, and they have not been able to alleviate their pain through surgery or other therapies. Active Implants developed the NUsurface Meniscus Implant, the first "artificial meniscus" that was evaluated in two clinical trials as a treatment option to help reduce knee pain from a damaged or deteriorated meniscus. Merryman Communications led a nearly three-year integrated marketing and public relations campaign to increase self-referrals to 21 clinical trial sites nationwide.

Leveraging the Firsts Our campaign strategy leveraged the "firsts" – the NUsurface Meniscus Implant as the first "artificial meniscus" and first-in-market patients to receive the implant. We used an awareness-building and click-generating integrated strategy that included paid, earned, shared and owned (PESO) tactics:

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Paid tactics helped us further leverage all our results and spread the word through geo- and interest-targeted campaigns on Facebook, Taboola and Outbrain. These campaigns were optimized for calls and clicks to the clinical trial screening center. We also used sponsored approaches including TV integrations on local TV stations, newspaper sponsored content in top dailies, and mat releases.

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Earned approaches included providing clinical trial sites with a comprehensive toolkit and conducting multi-pronged media relations in each market.

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Shared content included media stories, blog posts, sponsored articles and television integrations posted on multiple branded and nonbranded social media channels that we created.

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Owned tactics focused on a website update to better showcase the clinical trials and the "Knee Pain News" Active Implants blog optimized for SEO.

Chart showing clinical trial study patient source of inquiry: 81.3% digital, 16% radio, 2.7% PR

A Success in Driving Calls and Clicks

Our digital and public relations efforts contributed to more than 80 percent of the total patients screened. The client consistently credited our integrated strategy as highly effective in driving calls to the clinical trial sites, calls and clicks to the toll-free number and websites, and ultimately enrollment in the clinical trials.

Results by the Numbers

Media relations

5.5 million+
daily impressions

of coverage included calls to action

Social media

Reach was
media coverage

11.3 million
impressions on Facebook

post engagements

video views

24.8 million
impressions across
Outbrain and Taboola

Website traffic

Clinical trial website traffic up

Active Implants' website views up

Active Implants blog

impressions on LinkedIn

impressions on Twitter (organic)

2 million
impressions through
Knee Pain Trial Facebook page

Key Success Factors:

  • Impactful patient storytelling was a vital component of this campaign – each patient had lived an active lifestyle and was able to return to activities post-surgery. Given the response to our campaign, patient stories also clearly resonated with our targeted patients.
  • Highlighting patient stories in multiple media was an important first step, but how we leveraged them through our PESO approach drove results exponentially.