Allergan amps aesthetics advertising in bid to keep flagship Botox on top

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Allergan is readying a big marketing push for its aesthetic products, doubling ad spending and beefing up its sales force. (Allergan)

Allergan wants to know—are you bo-curious? That’s its upcoming ad pitch to consumers, particularly millennials, using a provocative play on words to refer to potential customers’ curiosity about Botox.

The pharma company recently previewed elements of the campaign at a medical aesthetics day it hosted for investors. However, the Botox pitch is just one part of a major marketing push coming across Allergan's aesthetic drugs. The Dublin drugmaker told investors that it plans to double its investment in consumer advertising, grow its sales force by 20% by December, and launch one to two new aesthetic products every year.

The “bo-curious” ads aren’t finished yet, but they'll be ready for launch in a few months, Carrie Strom, senior vice president, U.S. Medical Aesthetics, said.

“I’m very excited about the way we’re going to rebrand and modernize Botox Cosmetics so we can appeal not only to our core target of women who are 35-55, but also millennials and men. And we will show everyone that this is not your mama’s Botox,” she said before previewing a reel of campaign ideas, according to a webcast available on Allergan’s website.

RELATED: Botox rivals are looming. That's why its new ads urge women—and men—to insist on the brand

The timing is no coincidence. Lately, investors have gotten nervous about competitors to the iconic brand—particularly Revance Therapeutics, which in December aced a pair of phase 3 trials with candidate RT002. Revance followed up in February, revealing a deal with Mylan to develop a Botox biosimilar.

Strom also shared details on the upcoming ad campaign for dermal filler brand Juvederm, which hasn’t had DTC backing since early 2015. The Juvederm campaign will begin next month, she said, with an investment to drive consumer awareness “at very high levels like we haven’t before. We will make Juvederm synonymous with fillers. My team’s goal is to make Juvederm a household name like Botox. And it all starts with a high-impact, beautiful new global consumer campaign where we will make Juvederm a verb.” She then introduced the campaign, called “Juvederm It.”

The print ad shown reads, “Lift it. Smooth it. Plump it. Juvederm it.” It includes the names of the various related Juvederm branded products under each line.

A third Allergan aesthetics product, CoolSculpting, already has a big DTC push underway, and as Brent Hauser, VP of sales and marketing for body contouring, said, it has been a success. In the past six months, the “Cool Not Cool” TV and multimedia campaign has helped increase aided awareness by 17 points, bring it to upward of 50%, he said.

Millennials are a particular focus for Allergan aesthetics as that giant demographic group ages into the company's target market.

Chief Commercial Officer Bill Meury talked about why the group is key: “They start earlier. Prevention is on their minds. I can tell you they do their research, they don’t walk into a practice without knowing something about aesthetics. … They are unapologetic and unafraid about aesthetics. 50% report being brand loyal and 90% of them will spread the word about a brand they prefer. This will be our most important customer by 2025.”

RELATED: Former NFL and MLB star Deion Sanders signs with Allergan for Botox pitch for men

That means a two-pronged strategy on advertising delivery. TV and print will continue to be a focus, but digital media and data will be important as well with the digital native crowd.

Allergan aesthetics, for instance, already has a consumer loyalty program called Brilliant Distinctions, or BD, which it uses to cross-sell products and send promotions. However, it plans to enhance and build out the program by going direct to consumers with new tactics, including proximity marketing, texts, retargeting ads and point-of-sale payments, Strom said. BD currently has 5 million members, with an average 50,000 new signups every months, she said.

Another digital data focus is its Project Moonwalker venture, with first effort Spotlyte, a digital “brand agnostic” hub of content for consumers about medical aesthetic treatments, launched in mid-September.

The projected end result of the marketing and data reprioritize? Aesthetics business growth. Meury said he expects sales will climb from $3.8 billion last year to between $7 billion and $8 billion by 2025.

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