AbbVie unveils new Skyrizi TV ads with a subtler tone compared to its revved-up Rinvoq approach

This year, AbbVie has continually been a big spender in the TV ad drug stakes, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.

After launching two new Rinvoq commercials this summer, the Big Pharma is now turning its attention to its second immunology blockbuster, Skyrizi.

For the first new ad for the drug, Restaurant, AbbVie relies heavily on upbeat, Spanish-feeling guitar music with the bespoke song about “nothing is everything.” This focuses on the drug’s plaque psoriasis approval, its first nabbed back in 2019.

The ad centers on a woman working in an open restaurant on a sunny day, helping customers pick out food and setting up flowers on the tables.

The repeated “Nothing is Everything” chorus and accompanying text is set up to show that having nothing showing on your skin is everything to a plaque psoriasis patient. This follows on from the drug’s very first ad, coming exactly three years ago this month, which was called Nothing is Everything, but here emphasized the joy people feel in getting clearer skin.

The second ad zeroes in on the drug’s new psoriatic arthritis approval, which came this January, and is called Kayaking. The first half of the 30-second spot focuses on two people kayaking out in the sea, though at a leisurely pace, with the narrator intoning that “Skyrizi helps me get going,” while also allowing the older kayaker to move with “less pain and fatigue.”

The second half focuses on a younger woman using her hands to make clay pots, again highlighting the drugs' capacity to help reduce the affects of psoriatic arthritis, which can hamper dexterity and movement.

AbbVie is taking a different tact with Skyrizi’s TV ads when compared to its other autoimmune drug Rinvoq. Approved for eczema, ulcerative colitis (UC) and arthritis, Rinvoq also has new TV commercials out this summer. The ads have a “pedal to the metal” motif, with people flying helicopters, DJing in a busy nightclub or rapidly rafting down a river. AbbVie is clearly going for a softer approach with its Skyrizi ads.

Skyrizi made $2.93 billion last year, up 4.3% on 2020’s revenue. Rinvoq made $1.65 billion in 2021, its first full year of sales. While the drug was approved back in 2019, its launch was delayed by safety concerns for the JAK inhibitor class of meds to which it belongs.

Both drugs are looking to pick up the sales slack expected when $20 billion-a-year Humira goes off patent in 2023. That aging autoimmune drug also has long-held approvals in UC, arthritis and a host of other diseases, but the impending biosimilar threat means AbbVie is going for a two-pronged approach with Skyrizi and Rinvoq to pick up the baton. Each is estimated by AbbVie to be bringing in around $7 billion at peak.

But Skyrizi and Rinvoq don’t have the market to themselves. Sanofi and Regeneron’s blockbuster Dupixent also has a number of immunology approvals including eczema and asthma, with more expected to come down the line. 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. With both spending huge amounts for Rinvoq and Dupixent commercials, the pair vie for the top TV ad spender spot each month.

In July, according to real-time ad trackers at iSpot, AbbVie spent a whopping $39.2 million on TV ads for Rinvoq, putting it at the top of the pharma TV drug ad spending pack. The biggest spend was for its new rafting commercial, with just over $15 million going toward airtime for the ad.

AbbVie also spent $11.8 million on Skyrizi, with $3.9 million going toward the kayaking ad. The July spend was nearly double what the company spent on Skyrizi’s TV ads in June. The drug came in fifth in the overall pharma TV drug ad spending stakes last month.