AbbVie continues with 'extreme' sporting Rinvoq TV ad theme as it runs ulcerative colitis commercial

It’s a year of high-octane ads for AbbVie and its Rinvoq campaign, as the company launches a new TV commercial that once again tries to push the limits.

In June, it ran a new ad known simply as “Helicopter,” which felt like a '90s rave spliced with an Air Force recruitment video. That ad was plugging its newly obtained eczema approval and noted that having itch doesn’t need to slow you down.

This follows on from the theme from an older Rinvoq ad, "Mission: Motorcycle," which focused on its arthritis use. In it, a woman drives a motorcycle fast (while clearly careful not to break the speed limit), showing she's not letting her condition hold her back.

The latest ad is not letting up on the manic marketing. “River Rafting and Challenge Course” is, you guessed it, a group of people doing some extreme and competitive river rafting and then winning the course.

The focus here is on Rinvoq’s ulcerative colitis (UC) label, which it won in March. The ad's tag line is “Put it in check with Rinvoq” and includes the clever line: “When UC got unpredictable, I got rapid symptom relief,” coming from one of the rafters.

A JAK inhibitor and one of two autoimmune follow-ups to AbbVie’s Humira, Rinvoq nabbed an FDA approval for psoriatic arthritis last December, following this January with an indication to treat moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis and then two months later grabbed that UC label. Its first approval, in 2019, was for rheumatoid arthritis.

The drug made $1.65 billion last year and is, alongside AbbVie’s other immunology drug Skyrizi, looking to pick up the sales slack expected when $20 billion-a-year Humira goes off patent next year.

Rinvoq is up against the might of Sanofi and Regeneron’s blockbuster, Dupixent, in a number of immunology diseases. Dupixent is already ahead in the sales department, taking home 5.25 billion euros ($5.35 billion) last year.

AbbVie and Sanofi/Regeneron are also battling big in the TV drug ad stakes: Both are spending huge amounts for TV ads about Rinvoq and Dupixent, with the pair vying to be the biggest pharma TV ad spender each month.

According to the latest data from real-time ad trackers at iSpot, AbbVie spent a whopping $39.2 million on TV ads for Rinvoq in July. The biggest was for its new rafting commercial, with just over $15 million going toward airtime for the ad last month.