Amgen, GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer brands snag #FierceMadness Elite 8 spots

The #FierceMadness semiannual DTC ad tournament is down to the final eight. Vote for the next round through Sunday at midnight. (FiercePharma)

And then there were eight. The #FierceMadness Elite Eight bracket is set, with six brand-name drugs and two awareness campaigns still in the running for the championship.

In the East, Amgen’s Repatha knocked off Boehringer Ingelheim’s Spiriva with a 230-132 advantage, while Gilead’s Truvada work picked off Neurocrine’s tardive dyskinesia awareness campaign by a score of 202-107.

That sets up Repatha’s rescue worker ghosts against the Truvada honest patient-talk campaign to win the region. Voters who went for Repatha noted the importance of cardiac messaging, with one remarking that “Having life so abruptly interrupted was a real heart-wrencher for me and really relatable.” On the Truvada side, voters appreciated the open discussion. One noted, “Sex is usually a taboo subject, but needs to be discussed to protect those at risk for HIV. This was a great way to do it.”

In the West, GlaxoSmithKline’s Trelegy topped Amgen’s Enbrel 210-173, and Merck’s Keytruda easily downed Sanofi and Regeneron’s Dupixent 208-111. Now the ‘70s tune and simple message of Trelegy’s “1-2-3” will face off against Merck’s real-life cancer patient stories. In a vote for patient voices, one commenter said about the Keytruda campaign, “It’s the ‘real’ people that win you over.” As for Trelegy, many voters noted the catchy theme, with one even linking it to the #FierceMadness tournament theme. “Keep it simple. As simple as 1-2-3: shoot the ball, defend, rebound,” the comment said.

In the South, Novartis and Amgen’s Aimovig crushed Allergan’s Vraylar 332-110, while Dermira edged out RB’s Mucinex 186-152. Looking to take the division will be Aimovig’s migraine medicine ups-and-downs of life campaign against Dermira’s unbranded spot featuring hyperhidrosis patients' social situation solutions. Voters appreciated Aimovig's realistic take on migraines, with one commenter noting, “Personal experience with migraine and this hits home.” With Dermira, commenters liked the more lighthearted take on heavy sweating. “Delightful way to bring awareness to a potentially embarrassing issue,” wrote one voter.

In the Midwest, Boehringer Ingelheim’s Ofev annihilated Merck’s Belsomra with a score of 479-149, and Novartis' carcinoid awareness campaign won out over Allergan and Ironwood’s Linzess, 174-148. That sets up a battle in the ring, with Ofev’s IPF boxer son looking to knock out the trash-talking wrestler for Novartis. Ofev voters praised the “heartwarming” work, with one noting it “touches on the emotion of family which the large majority can assimilate to.” Meanwhile, the humorous WWF-like wrestler also struck a chord with voters, as one wrote (in all caps), “Terror on the tummy time!” Who will get the final bell?

Vote here for the campaigns you want to advance to the Final Four before Sunday at midnight. Check back Monday morning to see the winners and vote your championship contenders into the final game!

Round 3 (Vote here)


(1) Repatha vs. (6) Truvada

Ad: Repatha "Emergency Worker Ghosts"
Company: Amgen
Happy family and dinner scenes are interrupted with flashing lights and sirens and the specters of emergency workers to help viewers imagine the dangers of sudden heart attack or stroke.

Ad: Truvada "On the Pill"
Company: Gilead Sciences
Gilead started with an awareness campaign for HIV with "honest" talk about prevention and moved on later in the year to Truvada brand ads with actor portrayals of real stories about being "On the Pill."


(1) Enbrel vs. (2) Keytruda

Ad: Trelegy "Easy as 1-2-3"
Company: GlaxoSmithKline
This ad uses a throwback soundtrack to Jackson 5’s “Easy as 1-2-3” to highlight Trelegy, a 3-in-1 inhaler medicine.

Ad: Keytruda "Tru Stories"
Company: Merck
Patients tell the stories of their lung cancer and survival using Keytruda, with the latest ad also featuring an oncologist who talks along with his patient about success.


(7) Dermira vs. (8) Aimovig

Ad: "Check Your Sweat" awareness for hyperhydrosis
Company: Dermira
Dermira prepped for its Qbrexza launch with ads showcasing the tactics to avoid embarrassment used by people with excessive underarm sweating, like keeping their arms down and changing shirts.

Ad: Aimovig "I Am Here"
Companies: Novartis and Amgen
A next-gen migraine treatment gets the full TV campaign debut with ads that push the value of being fully present for all of life’s ups and downs.


(2) Novartis vs. (4) Ofev

Ad: "Trash-Talking Wrestler" for carcinoid syndrome awareness
Company: Novartis
A miniaturized WWF-type wrestler pounds on a bare stomach in this ad to highlight the pain of a rare condition called carcinoid syndrome, caused by hormones released by tumors.

Ad: Ofev "Family Ties"
Company: Boehringer Ingelheim
The boxer son of an idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis patient narrates the commercial, talking about his dad’s fight with IPF and how he inspires him.