Pharma TV spending bounced back with pro sports in August, with AbbVie, Regeneron/Sanofi leading the way

watching TV
Pharma spending rose in August with the return of pro sports. Overall, the top 10 highest-spending pharma brands shelled out $148 million in August, up from $136 million in July. (Getty Images)

Call it a fall sports bounce. Maybe not the typical one, but TV ad spending bumped up in August with the partial return of professional sports, and that included pharma buyers.

While news shows are the top pharma mainstay for TV ad buys, sports are another favored category for some drugmakers. In August, for instance, drug brands with broader target audiences bought on National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) programming. Those brands included anti-inflammatory drugs Humira from AbbVie and Dupixent from Sanofi and Regeneron and diabetes treatment Trulicity from Eli Lilly, all of which made the top 10 pharma TV buyers in August.

The pharma industry wasn't the biggest contributor, but it joined the 527 companies that spent $100 million on national TV ads during games since sports' return in July and August, according to MediaRadar data.

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Indeed, Humira bumped spending across the board in August, tallying $39.9 million and a 17% increase over July, while Dupxient almost doubled its spending to $21.9 million, up from $11.1 million in July.

The top 10 highest-spending brands list for August looked similar to that in July, with one notable addition: former big spender Enbrel from Amgen, which made a comeback. Its latest ad doesn’t include longtime spokesperson and golfer Phil Mickelson, though; Enbrel last aired TV ads featuring the PGA Tour champ, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, in June.

Spending for August was slightly down year-over-year, with the top 10 tallying $148 million compared with $165 million last August. It was right on par with August 2018's total, though, at $149 million. August's spending total also saw an increase over both July and June, when top 10 pharma brands spent $136 million and $141 million, respectively.

1. Humira
Movement:
Stayed the same
What is it? AbbVie anti-inflammatory drug
Total estimated spending: $39.9 million (up from $34.1 million in July)
Number of spots: Five (two for arthritis/psoriasis, three for ulcerative colitis/Crohn's)
Biggest-ticket ad: “Body of Proof: Bicycling, Painting, Traveling” (est. $15.2 million)


2. Dupixent
Movement:
Up from No. 5
What is it? Regeneron and Sanofi's atopic dermatitis and asthma treatment
Total estimated spending: $21.9 million (up from $11.1 million in July)
Number of spots: Three (one for atopic dermatitis, two for asthma)
Biggest-ticket ad: “Roll Up Your Sleeves: Financial Situation” (est. $11.8 million)


3. Descovy
Movement:
Up from No. 6
What is it? Gilead Sciences next-gen PrEP HIV drug
Total estimated spending: $15.9 million (up from $10.7 million in July)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Prep Up”


4. Trulicity
Movement:
Up from No. 7
What is it? Eli Lilly GLP-1 diabetes drug
Total estimated spending: $14.1 million (up from $10.2 million in July)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Power: Day of Work: $25 Savings” (est. $12.6 million)


5. Ocrevus
Movement:
Down from No. 2
What is it? Roche multiple sclerosis drug
Total estimated spending: $11.3 million (down from $16.2 million in July)
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “Dear MS" (est. $7.4 million)

*Ad not available on iSpot.tv

6. Eliquis
Movement:
Down from No. 4
What is it? Pfizer and Bristol Myers Squibb next-gen anticoagulant
Total estimated spending: $10.3 million (down from $13.2 million in July)
Number of spots: Four
Biggest-ticket ad: “What’s Next: Flower” (est. $3.5 million)


7. Xeljanz
Movement:
Down from No. 3
What is it? Pfizer oral rheumatoid arthritis therapy
Total estimated spending: $9.8 million (down from $15.5 million in July)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: "Needles: Sewing" (est. $4.9 million)


8. Ibrance
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? Pfizer’s metastatic breast cancer fighter
Total estimated spending: $8.7 million
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Your Moment: Scrapbook”


9. Skyrizi
Movement:
Down from No. 8
What is it? AbbVie IL-23 next-gen psoriasis treatment
Total estimated spending: $8.5 million (down from $10 million in July)
Number of spots: Four
Biggest-ticket ad: “Swimming” (est. $2.5 million)


10. Enbrel
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? Amgen’s TNF inhibitor to treat autoimmune diseases
Total estimated spending: $7.5 million
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Leah”

 

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