BI, Lilly hit the streets to talk up Jardiance's cardiovascular benefits

Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly are getting to the heart of the matter in new TV work for Jardiance. The commercial uses a man-on-the-street format, with an interviewer and camera crew talking to people with diabetes about their knowledge of cardiovascular risks.

The “Jardiance Asks” interviewer first questions a woman sitting with a friend on a park bench, “How does diabetes affect your heart?” She pauses and gives him a puzzled look, and then says, “It doesn’t, does it?”

Actually, it does, and that’s at the “heart of the matter,” which is also the ad’s tagline, Graham Goodrich, VP of diabetes marketing at Boehringer Ingelheim, said in an interview. Studies have shown that a majority of people with diabetes don’t know about the cardiovascular risk, which is significant. More than two-thirds of people older than 65 with Type 2 diabetes will die of cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association.

“If you’re looking for an explanation of the campaign and where we’re going with ‘Jardiance Asks,’ I would ask you to think about the tagline … ‘Get to the heart of what matters.’ That’s the best expression of the intent of this campaign because it’s about going beyond A1C and elevating the category to an entirely new level,” he said.

RELATED: Lilly nets best-case Jardiance nod from FDA, clearing reps to talk up CV risk reduction

Goodrich said the work is more than just a marketing play, though. Late last year, Jardiance became the first diabetes med to score an indication for cutting the risk of cardiovascular death, and because of that, he said he thinks BI and Lilly have a responsibility to start a national conversation.

He realizes that Jardiance may not be alone in that indication forever, though. Johnson & Johnson recently revealed data showing its SGLT2 rival Invokana could pare down the risk of cardiovascular death by 13%, and AstraZeneca, maker of Farxiga, still has its own outcomes trial running. In Goodrich's opinion, though, that's a good thing. 

RELATED: Johnson and Johnson's Invokana matches Jardiance's 14% reduction in major CV events—but doubles amputation risk, too

“Any time people are talking about the relationship between Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, it’s a great day for patients,” Goodrich said. “Fortunately, not only Boehringer Ingelheim and Lilly are talking about it, but we have a lot of other cardiovascular outcome trials in diabetes and a lot of those trials are reading out. And they’re creating a catalyst for this conversation about managing the elevated risk that comes with having Type 2 diabetes.”

The new branded work comes on the heels of a recent diabetes and heart disease linked awareness effort featuring actress Angela Bassett under the umbrella “For Your Sweetheart” campaign. In an online video, Bassett, whose mother had diabetes and died of a cardiovascular event, confesses to not having known about the connection between diabetes and the risk for developing heart disease.