Got Lolo? Allergan hypes ultralow-estrogen birth control in first major brand push

Allergan spotlights birth control brand Lo Loestrin Fe in print advertising as part of a new campaign that also includes TV. (Allergan)

In its latest women’s health advertising, Allergan sticks with its straight-talk, empowerment-oriented messaging—but this time, it attaches a brand name. The ultralow-dose birth control pill Lo Loestrin Fe stars in the new push, “Women Who Know,” now running in print and on TV.

Using humor and real-world scenarios, the campaign is designed to connect sex and birth control in relatable ways for young women, using "Lolo" as a nickname for the brand. The TV ad, for instance, begins with a shot on the faces of a young couple waking up and a voiceover saying, “Women who know morning sex doesn’t have to lead to morning sickness know Lolo.”

Print ads running in magazines including Cosmopolitan, People and Women’s Health point up a similar sentiment. Two more ads with varying storylines will roll out through the rest of the year, said Cindy Schwartz, Allergan associate vice president, marketing. The campaign was created by Publicis.

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The branded Lolo work is meant to complement the Allergan's long-running and extensive unbranded work around women’s health and contraception. The “Actually She Can” effort began in 2015 with its signature purple color, millennial hipster cartoon spokescharacter, and a legion of celebrity spokeswomen from actress and singer Lea Michele to former Saturday Night Live actress Vanessa Bayer.

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“Providing education and empowerment is important, and I think adding an extra element of a branded message helps guide the conversation for consumers and their HCPs. And it’s important for the brand—we’d like to raise brand awareness of Lo Loestrin,” Schwartz said.

With Lo Loestrin still growing after eight years on the market, she said, Allergan sees even more potential. Sales of Lo Loestrin totaled $459 million in 2017, which was an increase of 14% over 2016. In Allergan’s most recent second-quarter report, Lo Loestrin put up sales of $127.8 million, an increase of 13% year over year.

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Allergan announced at an investor’s conference in May that its women’s health unit is on the block, along with its infectious disease group, but CEO Brent Saunders said last week that the latter business will come first. The women's health unit is waiting for news from the FDA on Esmya, a uterine fibroid drug now under review at the agency, but recently put under new limits in Europe because of liver safety concerns.

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