Novo Nordisk re-engages comedian Billy Gardell for branded Ozempic campaign

Actor and comedian Billy Gardell is definitely in the zone. The Type 2 diabetes health zone, that is. And he's taking his good health to a starring role once again for Novo Nordisk, this time in branded advertising for Ozempic.

The new Ozempic TV ad, “My Zone” premiered this month during Gardell's sitcom “Bob Hearts Abishola." In the commercial, Gardell, who is an Ozempic user, talks about his ongoing journey to lower his A1C and lose weight using the Novo drug along with diet and exercise.

Novo originally engaged Gardell for an awareness campaign after he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2019. He and another patient took part in an online video series called “My Type 2 Transformation.”

The series tracked Gardell from his first Ozempic shot though a six-month program with a trainer, chef and life coach to help him manage the disease.

RELATED: Novo Nordisk brings on comedian Billy Gardell for Ozempic reality series

“He's been a part of kind of our armamentarium for the better part of two years. Part of that consideration always was 'how should we incorporate him into our DTC advertising?'” Jeremy Shepler, who heads up Novo's injectable GLP-1 portfolio, said. “So I would say that it's not like we're bringing him back, it's that we're continuing to leverage him.”

Not going anywhere is the, “Oh, Oh, Oh, Ozempic,” theme song set to the tune of ‘70s hit pop song “Magic” by Pilot. Shepler acknowledges the earworm power of the tune. Healthcare providers have been known to serenade Novo sales reps with the song when they visit.

“I can't imagine disassociating with the song because not only do we have a tremendous amount of brand awareness, the recall levels are insane. It's actually become part of our brand, if not a main driver of the brand—that pneumonic itself," he said.

RELATED: Novo Nordisk channels '70s 'Magic' in first TV ad for blockbuster-in-waiting Ozempic

Ozempic’s main competition in GLP-1 is Eli Lilly’s Trulicity, which holds a U.S. total script share of 44.7% compared with 27.9% for Ozempic, according to Novo's 2020 financials presentation.

The drugs remain in closer competition when it comes to GLP-1 new-to-brand share, where Trulicity had a 38.5% share and Ozempic had 34.3% as of January. Ozempic notched sales of 21 billion kroner ($3.4 billion) in 2020.