AstraZeneca targets the 9 out of 10 people who don't know they have CKD in new TV spot

AstraZeneca’s latest DTC spot “We Are Targets” for its chronic kidney disease (CKD) med Farxiga is aimed squarely at the nine in 10 adults who have CKD but are unaware of it.

The new spot is a follow-on from last year’s “You’re a Target” DTC ad, but, this time, the actors speak directly to the viewer and overall the ad issues a stronger call to action.

“We’re giving potential patients more consumer-friendly language,” AZ’s vice president for U.S. cardiovascular, renal and metabolic diseases, Sarah Walters, said in an interview with Fierce Pharma Marketing. “This time, we went a step further to say, 'ask your doctor about your kidney numbers.' We're trying to help patients feel empowered and give them the language to at least start the dialogue with their physician.”

The other change is the ad makes mention of the fact that once kidney damage sets in it can’t be reversed, and the next step is dialysis. Again, pushing for the urgency in speaking to one’s doctor sooner rather than later if at all at risk for CKD.

The ad continues the previous spot’s use of visual targets on the people in the spot (all of whom look healthy and are active— cycling, playing tennis, walking through the park) as well as the pull-away showing the entire park as a literal target.

The singsong “Far-see-guh” at the end is a helpful mnemonic (oh, it’ll stick in the brain) as AZ's branded diabetes and CKD name drug “Farxiga” is harder to remember. (There’s a good chance most people speaking to their doctor actually sing the name.)

As the audience is a broad one, engagement includes linear and digital TV, endemic websites like WebMD or Healthline, search and socials.

“In those patients that have seen the TV ad, we have seen an increase in the diagnosis rate which is very encouraging. There's still a ton more work to do because, again, one in 10 diagnoses tells you we've got a lot more work to do to get to the other nine,” Walters said.

Farxiga was first approved in 2014 to lower blood sugar levels in patients with Type 2 diabetes. Over the past few years, Farxiga has been adding label expansions including CKD and helping reduce the risk of certain heart problems.

Sales reflect the many uses: In 2021, it garnered $3 billion, a 53% increase from 2020, making it one of the Big Pharma's biggest-selling drugs.