Astellas turns up the heat with Super Bowl spot

The wings and Rihanna’s halftime show weren’t the only things that were hot during the Super Bowl as Astellas showcased its “Heat on the Street” disease state awareness campaign for vasomotor symptoms (VMS), more commonly known as “hot flashes and night sweats,” during the big game.

The spot is the same one that’s been running since October and features a very relatable reporter asking women whether they know what VMS is. Spoiler: They don’t. Well, they know about the hot flashes and night sweats, just not the medical name. Those wanting more info can visit the “What’s VMS?” website, which offers tips for dealing with the symptoms, FAQs, resources and a sign-up option for “The Hot Take” email.

Of the multiple millions of people watching the game, half of them were women, and, of those women,17 million fall into the target demographic of ages 35 to 64, making it a prime audience for this message.

“This has typically been a taboo topic, one that is typically not talked about, and, if it is, sometimes carries with it either a joking tone or shame and embarrassment,” Jill Jaroch, senior director for women’s health and urology marketing at Astellas, said in an interview. 

“We really are aiming to change that narrative, to educate women, as well as those who know women going through the menopausal transition—which is pretty much everybody in the world—that this is a real medical condition, it’s one that can and should be talked about with their healthcare providers.”

This is the first time Astellas has had a spot in the Super Bowl. The campaign has been backed by an omnichannel approach, airing throughout the U.S. during prime-time morning TV and cable programs as well as on multiple streaming platforms and across social networks like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

The goal is education and getting people to realize that VMS is a real medical condition, not a punch line.

“VMS is common, occurs in 80% of women, and it's something that can and should be talked about. It's worthy of discussion with your healthcare provider and with those that care about you. So we really hope to reach as many people as possible with that message,” Jaroch said.

While the spot is completely unbranded, back in August, the FDA accepted the pharma’s application for fezolinetant, a nonhormonal, oral option for reducing the frequency and severity of moderate to severe VMS including hot flashes and night sweats for women in menopause. According to a Jefferies report March, 2022, fezolinetant's market potential is estimated to be up to $2.3 billion. 

However, Jefferies also pointed to the disappointing performance of Pfizer-Myovant's MyFembreeapproved in May 2021 for uterine fibroids—which makes them “worry about the commercial potential of women's health products generally.”