Jardiance, Belsomra and Entyvio brand managers share DTC honors with oldsters like Viagra

Consumer advertising campaigns for drugs young and old earned kudos for their brand managers in DTC Perspectives' annual ranking of top 25 DTC marketers in pharma.

Brand managers for Eli Lilly's ($LLY) diabetes-fighter Jardiance, Merck & Co.'s ($MRK) insomnia drug Belsomra and Takeda's inflammatory bowel disease newcomer Entyvio made the cut, along with brand managers of much-advertised older drugs such as Pfizer's ($PFE) Viagra, Allergan's ($AGN) Restasis and AstraZeneca's ($AZN) Crestor. To nab honors, the tried-and-true drugs set themselves apart with envelope-pushing ideas--such as Viagra's "Looking Up" effort, the much-discussed ad campaign featuring only women speaking frankly to men.

Jennifer Huag Kovack, director of publishing and awards at DTC Perspectives, said the mix of young and old drug campaigns is relatively new to the awards, but said that's partly because of the way the industry is changing and adopting more patient-centric marketing methods.

"As the industry has changed, we've also evolved," she said. "Marketing used to be focused much more on the creative aspect. Now with patients being more empowered, we look … beyond the campaign for someone who is not only a champion for the brand and for the campaign, but also a champion for patients."

Nominations for the top 25 are garnered from colleagues, bosses, agencies and other partners, as well as DTC Perspectives' own research, over a two-month period. The awards average about 100 submissions every year, Huag Kovack said. An editorial and executive team then chooses the finalists after checking stories and vetting campaigns.

Another trend Haug Kovack has noticed during her 9 years at the publishing and consulting company is a more diverse nominee list that includes more women and minorities, a trend she sees as reflective of general changes in the pharma industry.

As a companion to the DTC leaders awards, the company will announce finalists for its DTC National Advertising Awards, honoring the best brand campaigns of the year, next week.

- see the full list of top 25

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