AbbVie's Humira, J&J's Invokana lead September's $231M in pharma TV ad spending

The top 40 pharma companies spent almost a quarter-billion on TV advertising ($231 million) in September, airing ads more than 91,000 times. Of those spots, more than 20% (18,753) ran in primetime.

These stats come courtesy of iSpot.tv, which has teamed up with FiercePharmaMarketing to surface new and trending pharma spots on TV. Every month iSpot.tv, which tracks and measures TV advertising in real-time, will reveal the pharma companies and brands at the top of the spending curve.

Last month, AbbVie's ($ABBV) anti-inflammatory treatment Humira led the pharma group in overall spending, not surprising considering it's been a leading spend contender year after year. What's new was Merck & Co.'s ($MRK) big new push for its sleep aid Belsomra. Its one-spot campaign, featuring furry word household pets, was only narrowly behind Humira's TV spending on 6 spots.

Coming in at No. 3 was J&J's ($JNJ) latest diabetes drug Invokana, among the new class of SGLT2 meds, followed by two more dependable spenders, Pfizer ($PFE) and Bristol-Myers Squibb's ($BMY) anticoagulant drug Eliquis and Sunovion's antipsychotic med Latuda, to round out the top five.

"What's interesting when you look at the top spenders by category, is that some pharma companies tend to match spending within a category, yet each can pursue a very different strategy for how they reach target audiences," said Charlie Foster, iSpot.tv analyst.

The list, for instance, shows clusters of diabetes treatment brands spending between $5 million and $11 million. Yet the spend alone does not explain the audience engagement strategy: Invokana at the No. 3 spot spent $11.3 million with a concentration on non-primetime spots, only placing 288 prime runs. Lower spenders Toujeo and Victoza at Nos. 7 and 9, respectively, both opted to spend on fewer airings, but seemingly larger audiences. Toujeo bought 137 primetime airings, and Victoza, 170.

iSpot also tracks digital behavior, which are the viewer actions on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and search engines that are explicitly linked to an airing, and found that the top spending spot that drove the most digital behavior was Eliquis, followed by Belsomra.

"In an industry where spend doesn't always tell the tale of digital response, Eliquis generated 2.31% of digital activity for ads in the category against its 3.2% of that category's spend. On the other hand, Belsomra, with 4.2% of the total industry spend, generated about 1.5% of all digital activity related to TV ad airings," Foster said. -- Beth Snyder Bulik (email)


Humira
AbbVie anti-inflammatory drug
Total estimated spending: $13,876,208
No. of spots: 6
Ad with the biggest spend: Grocery Store
Estimated spend on that ad: $3,339,342
Total airings for 6 ads: 5,666
Primetime airings for 6 ads: 1,115
% of industry spend: 4.37


Belsomra
Merck & Co. sleep aid
Total estimated spending: $13,430,565
No. of spots: 1 - Cats and Dogs
Total airings: 3,090
Primetime airings: 502
% of industry spend: 4.23

 


Invokana
Johnson & Johnson SGLT2 diabetes drug
Total estimated spending: $11,381,800
No. of spots: 2 (one Spanish language)
Ad with the biggest spend: You're Not Alone
Estimated spend on that ad: $8,816,349
Total airings for 2 ads: 1,481
Primetime airings for 2 ads: 288
% of industry spend: 3.59


Eliquis
Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb anticoagulant
Total estimated spending: $10,361,097
No. of spots: 3
Ad with the biggest spend: Turn Around Your Thinking
Estimated spend on that ad: $7,326,271
Total airings for 3 ads: 1,889
Primetime airings for 3 ads: 613
% of industry spend: 3.27


Latuda
Sunovion antipsychotic drug
Total estimated spending: $9,204,164
No. of spots: 1 - Amy's Story
Total airings: 1,672
Primetime airings: 349
% of industry spend: 2.90


Lyrica
Pfizer seizure and pain drug
Total estimated spending: $8,922,127
No. of spots: 5
Ad with the biggest spend: Fibromyalgia Set Backs
Estimated spend on that ad: $4,303,792
Total airings for 5 ads: 1,867
Primetime airings for 5 ads: 433
% of industry spend: 2.81


Toujeo
Sanofi basal insulin for diabetes
Total estimated spending: $7,850,909
No. of spots: 1 - Journal
Total airings: 527
Primetime airings: 137
% of industry spend: 2.47


Xarelto
Johnson & Johnson and Bayer anticoagulant
Total estimated spending: $6,688,466
No. of spots: 1- Reduce Your Risk
Total airings: 1,432
Primetime airings: 261
% of industry spend: 2.11


Victoza
Novo Nordisk GLP-1 diabetes drug
Total estimated spending: $5,308,089
No. of spots: 2
Ad with the biggest spend: Dominique Wilkins
Estimated spend on that ad: $3,577,112
Total airings for 2 ads: 787
Primetime airings for 2 ads: 170
% of industry spend: 1.67


Linzess
Allergan constipation drug
Total estimated spending: $5,228,058
No. of spots: 1 - Calm the Raging Storm
Total airings: 531
Primetime airings: 148
% of industry spend: 1.65


*iSpot.tv's percentage of industry spend represents the percent of dollars attributed to the brand versus all others in the pharma categories that were run for this report.

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