Allergan taps purple-haired millennial mascot for hashtag-heavy women's health push

Newly reinvented Allergan ($AGN) is looking to women's health as a core therapeutic area, and millennial women make up a large part of its target audience. So now, it's rolling out a new campaign focused specifically on reaching that population--and it's using hashtags, emojis and a purple-haired heroine to do it.

Enter #ActuallySheCan, a multi-pronged marketing effort featuring a women's health website, celebrity partners including "Glee" star Lea Michele, partnerships with Cosmopolitan and Her Campus, and more. Central to the campaign is Violet, a millennial cartoon woman who guides like-minded visitors to women's health information--including the 4-1-1 on Lo Loestrin Fe, a branded Allergan contraceptive.

The way Allergan sees it, it's "providing the platform and common language for young millennials to become more informed of their healthcare options, take more ownership of their well-being and have more informed discussions with their healthcare providers," Herm Cukier, Allergan's VP of women's healthcare, told FiercePharmaMarketing via email.

But to Allergan, #ActuallySheCan represents more than just a hashtag or a moniker for its latest campaign--and it's hoping women will see it that way, too.

#ActuallySheCan "is a rallying cry to inspire young millennial women to achieve all of their goals--be they professional, personal or even societal," Cukier wrote. "It encourages women to embrace their ambitions and achieve their full potential."

To understand the best way to connect with its intended audience, Allergan spent nearly a year researching millennials' insights and culture, the relevance and prevalence of social media in their lives, the ways they crowdsource information, and, naturally, the brands they engage with, Cukier said.

Violet, a hip, self-assured everygirl who takes selfies and uses Internet shorthand--"plz"--was, "in many ways, a natural articulation of everything that we explored and researched," Cukier said.

While Cukier says the feedback has so far been positive, the campaign had its critics almost immediately. As Forbes' Sarah Hedgecock wrote recently, it's "right on the basic elements of empowering millennial women"--but "in the details, it begins to feel like something devised by a person who learned everything he knows about millennial women from Buzzfeed."

Allergan, though, insists the campaign is evolving, and it intends to take those sorts of gripes into account. "We will continue to work with any feedback to continue to make the elements of the program even more relevant," Cukier wrote.

Meanwhile, women's health brands like Lo Loestrin Fe will soon find themselves playing a larger role under the Allergan umbrella. Last week, the company agreed to sell off its generics business to Teva ($TEVA) for $40.5 billion.

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