Avanir shelves Danny Glover PBA awareness ad in favor of branded Nuedexta effort

Avanir has launched its first branded campaign for Nuedexta, retiring its disease awareness campaign with actor Danny Glover.(Source: Avanir Pharmaceuticals)

Avanir Pharmaceuticals is taking its marketing to the next level. It's retiring the pseudobulbar affect (PBA) disease awareness ad it sponsored starring actor Danny Glover, and it's launched its first branded campaign for Nuedexta in its place.

“We’re shifting the focus and taking the awareness that campaign has built and building on it by turning the conversation to both PBA and treatment with Nuedexta,” Alana Darden, director of consumer marketing at Avanir, told FiercePharma in an interview.

The Glover awareness campaign for PBA—a condition that causes involuntary crying and laughing—began in 2015, following a previous awareness campaign the year before. The awareness TV ad most recently ran in October after being dark all year, and while Glover is still featured on the awareness website www.PBAfacts.com, the creative will be changed by mid-January.

While the disease education effort was successful in generating awareness of PBA, the awareness of a treatment for PBA is still low, she said. So the pharma decided it was time to shift its communication investment to emphasize Nuedexta, which is the only FDA-approved drug to treat PBA.

The TV ad features a grey-haired man who starts crying at a child’s birthday party and in a voiceover tells viewers it was the “third time that day and I wasn’t even sad. First the stroke, now this.”

Darden said they also shot two other TV ads—one from the patient’s wife's point of view and another from a physician’s point of view. Avanir will air the first TV ad, along with a digital banner and paid search ads, through the first quarter of 2017, and then evaluate next steps, such as airing the additional TV creative or expanding the campaign.

The target audience is men and women aged 50 and older who have had one of 6 conditions—Alzheimer’s or dementia, stroke, multiple scelrosis, Parkinson’s, ALS or traumatic brain injury—that may put them at risk for PBA.