Bristol Myers Squibb goes double DTC with Opdualag, Opdivo and Yervoy combo spots

Bristol Myers Squibb is going big on its DTC push for its two immunotherapies—the newer Opdualag and two drugs in one combo of Opdivo (nivolumab) and Yervoy.

Opdualag, BMS’ melanoma drug, launched “Strength in Numbers” mid-January with a focus on the combo of drugs working side by side (as exemplified by two people working together to pitch a tent) and has the actor speaking directly to the viewer.

Meanwhile, “The Cabin,” for Opdivo and Yervoy, has been running since late last year, is purely voice-over and features an older couple first looking for answers about lung cancer—but by the end of the ad, after discovering Opdivo and Yervoy, spend their time looking for cabins.

Both spots have a lot in common; both feature an older white man as the patient (both diseases skew to the male demographic, but more diverse ads are on the way), doing outdoorsy “live life to the fullest” things. But they also feature stark differences.

Most importantly, while both are combo immunotherapy drugs for cancer, they are for different kinds of cancer: Opdualag is for unresectable or metastatic melanoma and patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma. Opdivo (nivolumab) combined with Yervoy (ipilimumab) is for patients newly diagnosed with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer whose tumors express the PD-L1 biomarker.

It is a bit unusual to be running two DTC spots at the same time, but Catherine Owen, BMS’ senior vice president and general manager, U.S. commercial, says it’s really about getting this information out to patients.

“Bristol Myers Squibb has the led the charge to have a dual immunotherapy on the market for patients with cancer and that's with Opdivo and Yervoy. And then, last March, we launched our second dual immunotherapy product with Opdualag.

"We are looking to ensure that as we communicate with patients about the options that they have for treating their cancer, we are really taking a leadership position on two pretty big DTC campaigns for our two immunotherapy combinations. So for the first time, we're actually leaning into ensuring that patients really are educated around the options they have available to them for both of our combination products.”

For Opdualag, the focus is on connected TV such as digital streaming platforms like Hulu, Disney and lifestyle channels such as HGTV and Food Network as well as sports networks aimed at a younger audience as patients diagnosed with melanoma actually tend to be younger than those diagnosed with lung cancer. So for “The Cabin,” Owen says the team worked with media agencies to understand where patients and caregivers might be looking.

The goal of the two spots is really the same: to talk directly to the patients about immuno-oncology as an option.

“We're encouraging you to have a conversation with your doctor about the new options and whether it might be right for you. So it's that conversation that's important. Obviously, we're not trying to suggest that every patient is suitable because they're not, but it's a conversation that they're empowered to have with some knowledge that allows them to understand why or why not,” Owen said.