Flu season early bird Seqirus debuts Fluad TV ad campaign targeting seniors

One of the active seniors in the new Fluad flu vaccine TV campaign from Seqirus, which follows a year of foundation-building after its 2016 launch.

Active seniors star in the new Seqirus commercial for Fluad, its first for the trivalent flu vaccine aimed at the 65-plus crowd. In the TV spot, older Americans say they don't have “time for that”—meaning the potentially more serious bouts of flu that come with aging.

The flu season campaign is an early-bird push, and there's a reason for that. Fluad's target demographic tends to get their flu shots earlier. Fluad was approved by the FDA in the fall of 2015 specifically to treat people ages 65 and older. It is the first flu vaccine that contains an adjuvant meant to increase the body’s immune response.

The campaign comes in the second year of Fluad’s availability in the U.S. because it spent last season laying the groundwork. Seqirus used last year's launch to get in front of doctors, pharmacists and retailers, as well as to prove it could deliver Fluad vaccines reliably all season, said Haejin Chung, VP, commercial operations for Seqirus in the Americas. Guidemark Health ad agency worked with Seqirus to create the campaign.

“Doing a national direct consumer campaign in the second year, along with what we do with print and digital, is a way we’re able to broaden our message,” she said. That message is important, Seqirus believes, because influenza comes with greater risk of serious complications for people ages 65 and older. According to the CDC, across the past few seasons, seniors older than 65 accounted for 71% to 85% of flu-related deaths and 54% to 70% of flu-related hospitalizations.

Seqirus is a relatively new brand in the influenza market, created after CSL merged its flu vaccine subsidiary bioCSL with the assets it acquired from Novartis’ flu vaccine business in July 2015. Sanofi leads the flu vaccine market with a portfolio that includes its own product dedicated to the 65-plus market, Fluzone High-Dose. According to Sanofi, Fluzone High-Dose was received by 60% of all U.S. adults ages 65 and older who were vaccinated during the 2016-2017 flu season.