AbbVie, Lilly and Gilead stay on top of pharma ad spending list for March amid steady overall spending

watching TV
Pharma companies continued steady TV advertising in March even as other ad categories dipped. (Getty Images)

While much of the world watched TV from home in March thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, pharma companies kept up a typical pace of TV ad spending on drug brands. The top 10 brands spent $156 million in March, according to real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv, a slight increase over February's $149 million.

With the health crisis, TV ad prognosticators are predicting overall drops in traditional programmed TV spending. Predictions for those declines run as high as 40% for March and April, with full-year forecasts pegging declines of 12% to 20% as many look to revamp their upended models.

However, the pharma industry may be more insulated than some other categories such as travel or retail. People with chronic conditions and new health issues need medicine and information regardless of COVID-19.

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April may offer a clearer picture of what's to come in pharma TV advertising, but an early look at mid-month data found pharma still on track for about the same level of spending as March. Check back in a few weeks for a complete assessment.

Meanwhile, in March, AbbVie's Humira continued as the top spender with $25.2 million laid out on TV ads. In fact, the four top-spending drugs remained in the same spots for March with Trulicity, Descovy and Rinvoq following the AbbVie megabrand.

1. Humira
Movement: Stayed same
What is it? AbbVie anti-inflammatory drug
Total estimated spending: $25.2 million (down from $26.5 million in February)
Number of spots: Four (Two for arthritis/psoriasis, two for ulcerative colitis/Crohn's)
Biggest-ticket ad: “Body of Proof: Dog Walking” (est. $9.7 million)


2. Trulicity
Movement: Stayed same
What is it? Eli Lilly GLP-1 diabetes drug
Total estimated spending: $20.7 million (up from $19 million in February)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Power: Picnic” (est. $18.2 million)


3. Descovy
Movement: Stayed same
What is it? Gilead Sciences next-gen PrEP HIV drug
Total estimated spending: $18.8 million (up from $18 million in February)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Prep Up”


4. Rinvoq
Movement: Stayed same
What is it? AbbVie JAK inhibitor to treat rheumatoid arthritis
Total estimated spending: $18.7 million (up from $12.8 million in February)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Your Mission”


5. Rexulti
Movement: Up from No. 9
What is it? Otsuka and Lundbeck antipsychotic
Total estimated spending: $15.4 million (up from $11.5 million in February)
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “I’m Fine” (est. $12.2million)


6. Xeljanz
Movement: Not on list last month
What is it? Pfizer oral rheumatoid arthritis therapy
Total estimated spending: $15.3 million
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: "Needles: Sea Urchin" (est. $7.8 million)


7. Skyrizi
Movement: Down from No. 5
What is it? AbbVie IL-23 next-gen psoriasis treatment
Total estimated spending: $11.8 million (down from $12.8 million in February)
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “Nothing is Everything” (est. $10 million)


8. Chantix
Movement: Not on list last month
What is it? Pfizer smoking cessation med
Total estimated spending: $11.2 million
Number of spots: Six
Biggest-ticket ad: “Snow Turkey” (est. $6 million)


9. Ozempic
Movement: Down from No .6
What is it? Novo Nordisk GLP-1 diabetes med
Total estimated spending: $9.7 million (down from $12.7 million in February)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Musicians”


10. Otezla
Movement: Not on list last month
What is it? Amgen oral treatment for plaque psoriasis
Total estimated spending: $9 million
Number of spots: Four
Biggest-ticket ad: "Little Things: Pool" (est. $4 million)
 

 

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