Pharma's May TV ad spend dips as marketers find new normal

watching TV
TV viewers still saw plenty of AbbVie ads in May, along with brands like Latuda and Dupixent, even as dollars dipped. (Getty Images)

Pharma TV advertising dipped slightly in May, sinking below typical spending levels as marketers began to settle into a new normal. The top 10 pharma brands spent $149 million, down from $183 million in April but also down over last year’s May total of $177 million.

While summer generally sees a slowdown in TV spending as people head outdoors, that effect may be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and an earlier push to go outside for safer interactions. Another reason for the dip in spending is the weak economy, impacting revenue and spurring budget cuts across industries. Pharma and healthcare are more resilient categories than discretionary spending categories such as retail and fast food, but the dip bears watching.

AbbVie’s Humira brand led the list of spenders again in May, although with a big month-over-month drop in spending. The Illinois drugmaker shelled out $32.5 million on the brand in May, down from $52.9 million in April, although April did include a boost from its COVID-19 ad messages. Sunovion depression drug Latuda and Sanofi and Regeneron's Dupixent brand were in close contention for second place.

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Dupixent aired ads around both its asthma and atopic dermatitis indications, spending an almost equal amount on the two conditions. Meanwhile, Latuda ran a new version of an already-airing ad that included a message about financial support "during this time."

Expect more of the COVID-19 messages to come in Junein just the first week of the month, already seven new or updated TV ads have run with offers of financial help to pay for medicines. But will that be enough to stave off another monthly dip? Stay tuned.

1. Humira
Movement: Stayed same
What is it? AbbVie anti-inflammatory drug
Total estimated spending: $32.5 million (down from $52.9 million in April)
Number of spots: Five (Two for arthritis/psoriasis, three for ulcerative colitis/Crohn's)
Biggest-ticket ad: “You Inspired Us: May Be Able to Help (est. $11.3 million)


2. Latuda
Movement:
Up from No. 4
What is it? Sunovion Pharmaceutical antipsychotic
Total estimated spending: $19.12 million (up from $16.2 million in April)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Lauren's Story: Here for You"


3. Dupixent
Movement:
Down from No. 2
What is it? Regeneron and Sanofi's atopic dermatitis and asthma treatment
Total estimated spending: $19.11 million (down from $21.9 million in April)
Number of spots: Three (Two for atopic dermatitis, one for asthma)
Biggest-ticket ad: “Du-More” (est. $9.2 million)


4. Descovy
Movement:
Down from No. 3
What is it? Gilead Sciences next-gen PrEP HIV drug
Total estimated spending: $14.3 million (down from $16.5 million in April)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Prep Up”


5. Rinvoq
Movement:
Up from No. 8
What is it? AbbVie JAK inhibitor to treat rheumatoid arthritis
Total estimated spending: $12.9 million (up from $12.4 million in April)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Your Mission: Paying for Your Medicine"


6. Xeljanz
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? Pfizer oral rheumatoid arthritis therapy
Total estimated spending: $11.5 million
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: "Mornings: Take Your Daughter to Work" (est. $8.3 million)

7. Biktarvy
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? Gilead Sciences HIV 3-in-1 med
Total estimated spending: $10.4 million
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “Keep Loving Who You Are: $0 Per Month” (est. $10.3 million)


8. Ozempic
Movement:
Down from No. 6
What is it? Novo Nordisk GLP-1 diabetes med
Total estimated spending: $10.1 million (down from $13.3 million in April)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Musicians: One-Month or Three-Month”


9. Rexulti
Movement:
Down from No. 5
What is it? Otsuka and Lundbeck antipsychotic
Total estimated spending: $10 million (down from $14.5 million in April)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “I’m Fine” (est. $5.6 million)


10. Skyrizi
Movement:
Stayed same
What is it? AbbVie IL-23 next-gen psoriasis treatment
Total estimated spending: $8.7 million (down from $10.7 million in April)
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “Nothing is Everything” (est. $5.8 million)
 

 

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