AstraZeneca, fresh from Airsupra approval, mounts dual campaigns to discuss inflammation in asthma

AstraZeneca’s asthma marketing team is pushing the importance of inflammation in asthma. Across two unbranded campaigns targeting patients and healthcare professionals, the drugmaker is communicating a message that is aligned with the effects of its recently approved rescue inhaler Airsupra.

The consumer campaign features a straw that is shaped to look like lungs and a windpipe. Next to the image is the message that airway tightening can feel like breathing through a straw and a question: Did you know inflammation is an underlying cause of asthma symptoms? The healthcare professional website uses nautical imagery to discuss fluctuating inflammation and rescue medications. 

Nicole Skiljo, executive director, U.S. marketing at AstraZeneca, explained the thinking behind the creative decisions and the approaches the company has taken to communicating related messages to different audiences.

“Both of these campaigns were tested rigorously,” Skiljo said in an interview with Fierce Pharma Marketing. “Rising inflammation was the most motivating for healthcare providers to want to learn more. For consumers, it's very common that patients will articulate their asthma as breathing through a straw. This imagery had a lot of stopping power and also motivated patients to want to learn more about the two sides to their asthma.”

AstraZeneca began the campaigns within months of winning its January FDA approval for Airsupra, a rescue inhaler that is differentiated from albuterol treatments because it is designed to manage both their symptoms and the inflammatory nature of asthma. The drugmaker is framing the disease awareness campaigns as being unrelated to any brand. 

“These campaigns are not aligned to a brand. These are purely for disease education around the role of inflammation, rising inflammation in an asthma attack,” Skiljo said. The healthcare professional website has a link, attached to the text “learn more about a potential treatment option,” to the Airsupra page.

AstraZeneca is communicating the inflammation message across video, display, social, audio, search, print and digital out of home with the goal of reaching 150,000 healthcare providers and nearly 3 million asthma patients this year.