AstraZeneca and Amgen are relying on a quirky cast of animated characters to introduce their new blockbuster hopeful Tezspire to consumers.
There’s the vegan punk rocker with a soft spot for kittens and botanicals who fearlessly strolls into a local florist shop and presses his nose into a sunny bouquet. There’s the hot-rod racing granny who’s also an electrical engineer. There’s an ice sculptor, a dog walker and a suburban mom with a talent for chopping wood.
The message? Despite your severe asthma, Tezspire can help you “be you.”
The eclectic lineup of CGI characters made their TV debut last week in the companies’ first DTC commercial for the drug. We see them embracing their authentic lives, unafraid of pet dander, cold air, pollen or other potential asthma triggers, presumably thanks to taking Tezspire.
The “Be You” campaign was born out of patient insights showing that unpredictable asthma attacks and “triggers that come out of nowhere” can prevent people from being their true selves, said Kate Tansey Chevlen, Amgen’s sales and marketing head for Tezspire.
The diverse cast, whose bios appear on the Tezspire website, is also a nod to the drug’s label and its ability to help a broad range of severe asthma patients. The ad emphasizes that “no matter what type of severe asthma you have, Tezspire can help”—playing up what analysts see as the drug’s competitive advantage.
Tezspire is indicated for severe asthma regardless of the cause of inflammation, setting it apart from Sanofi and Regeneron’s heavily advertised blockbuster Dupixent, GlaxoSmithKline’s Nucala and other biologics on the market that target eosinophilic forms of the disease.
The companies chose animation to further stand out among those other brands, said Elizabeth Bodin, AZ’s vice president for respiratory and immunology in the U.S.
“These fun characters come to life in a really vibrant way,” she said, allowing Tezspire’s message to “break through the noise in what we know to be a rather crowded category.”
The companies have launched a “360 surround sound” campaign, airing ads on digital platforms including cable and connected TV, audio and social media channels including TikTok. They’re also testing the waters with gaming and weather apps, the latter of which have been largely untapped by pharma.
Asthma patients often turn to weather apps to check pollen counts or humidity levels, “so we know that patients are there,” said Chevlen. “We’re excited to see what kind of engagement we get there.”
AZ and Amgen launched Tezspire in January after winning FDA approval for the monoclonal antibody last December as an add-on treatment for severe patients 12 and older. Before the DTC campaign, AZ and Amgen ran an unbranded awareness campaign, tapping E! host Nina Parker to help patients learn how to “break the cycle” of uncontrolled asthma, though it was not directly linked to Tezspire.
Analysts have pegged peak sales of the drug at $2.5 billion in 2030.