Allergan highlights strong women in new Botox ads for chronic migraine use

Allergan Westport, Ireland
Allergan's latest marketing message for Botox treatment of chronic migraines focuses on strong women. (Allergan)

Migraine episodes are tough, but the women who fight through them are tougher. That’s the message from Allergan in its evolved Botox for chronic migraine marketing.

New TV ads, first begun in the fall, feature strong women in various roles—including mom, chef, architect, park ranger and science teacher—powering through their too-frequent migraine days. Chronic migraine sufferers by definition have 15 or more migraine days per month, and about 85% of those affected are women.

“In ‘Stand Up' we really encouraged patients to take action and literally stand up to chronic migraine with Botox. This new execution … really delivers on that insight about chronic migraine patients that they’re fighters," said Talea Launchbaugh, Allergan's associate vice president of consumer and multichannel marketing for neuroscience and urology. "They power through their chronic migraine, and they don’t let it stop them.”

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Media for the campaign include TV commercials, digital, social media, in-office and print ads. Allergan’s qualitative and quantitative research show the new advertising has resonated with patients, Launchbaugh said, who identify with the women in the ads. They're glad to be acknowledged for “not laying on a couch or just putting their head in their hands and suffering in silence, but powering through—and we recognize that.”

While there was some initial concern that sales of Botox as a migraine treatment would suffer on competition from the new CGRP class of migraine treatments from Amgen, Teva and Eli Lilly, that does not seem to have happened. Allergan's revenue for therapeutic use of Botox amounted to $1.28 billion in the U.S. through the first three quarters in 2019, an increase of 9% over the same time period in 2018.

Sales from Botox therapeutic treatment includes both neurology and urology uses, and this segment of the Botox operation will integrate into AbbVie's pharma business when the two companies wrap up their merger. Botox's cosmetic uses will serve as the centerpiece of a new, autonomous aesthetics unit inside AbbVie.

Allergan—or AbbVie, via Allergan—will soon have its own CGRP treatment on the market as well: Ubrelvy, the first oral CGRP to treat migraines, won its FDA green light in late December.