How to talk about constipation? Forest's new DTC campaign for Linzess will show you

Irritable bowel syndrome is tricky. Symptoms come and go, they vary from person to person, and they're not dinner-table conversation. But Forest Laboratories ($FRX) and Ironwood Pharmaceuticals ($IRWD) need to get patients talking about their IBS with constipation--because they have a drug for that.

So, Forest and Ironwood are launching a direct-to-consumer campaign for Linzess (linaclotide), approved in December 2012 for IBS with constipation and for chronic idiopathic constipation. Get ready to stumble on the ads in popular consumer mags--People and Better Homes & Gardens among them. And the TV commercials will pop up during prime-time network programming such as "Modern Family," "The Voice" and "NCIS."

The campaign has a disease-awareness spin, thanks to some revealing market research. Forest and Ironwood found that many people a., don't realize that long-lasting or recurrent constipation is worth telling their doctors about, and b., don't know how to describe their symptoms if they do. And c., fewer than 10% of diagnosed patients know Linzess exists.

"We felt we had a unique opportunity to reach patients who were having a difficult time identifying and conveying the symptoms they were experiencing," Forest EVP Bill Meury said in a statement. "This campaign is intended to facilitate a more comprehensive conversation between adult patients and physicians, and to raise consumer awareness about these diseases and Linzess as a treatment option."

Besides the TV and print ads, the Linzess campaign includes educational materials to be distributed at medical offices and pharmacies, a brushed-up brand website, and online promos. The ads and fact sheets enumerate symptoms of IBS-C and CIC, even defining the terms "chronic" and "idiopathic."

The TV commercial focuses in on one human midriff after another. An animated blue ribbon illustrates the symptoms: A tied-up-in-knots ribbon for one, a stack of bricks for another. Of course, Linzess is touted as a tool for untangling that ribbon--and moving those bricks out of a pile and, well, in line.

- see the release from Forest and Ironwood