Pharma brings the heat in July as TV ad spending soars

Pharma marketers must have missed the memo about the dog days of summer. TV spending by the top 10 pharma advertisers topped $140 million, making the total for July the highest since January, according to data from real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv.

Disease awareness campaigns were prominent last month, with two marketers debuting in the top 10 group. Merck ($MRK), which began a campaign to promote the importance of HPV vaccinations in June, landed at No. 7, spending $9.9 million split between that HPV ad and an ongoing campaign aimed at encouraging shingles vaccinations for older people. Merck markets Gardasil for HPV and Zostavax for shingles.

Mylan ($MYL) bowed at No. 9 with the second disease awareness campaign, spending a combined $8.5 million on TV ads for the month. It ran its May-debuted “Face Your Risk” peanut allergy awareness ad, along with another long-running and more general allergic reaction awareness TV spot. Mylan markets EpiPen autoinjectors to treat severe allergic reactions.

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Among branded advertising, AbbVie’s ($ABBV) Humira continued in the No. 1 spot for July with spending of $34.5 million, spread across seven different TV ads for three different FDA-approved indications.

July was also a big month for diabetes marketers on TV, with total spending of $64 million on TV ads for the month. That category was led by Pfizer’s ($PFE) Lyrica, which maintained the No. 2 spender spot for the third month in a row.

1. Humira
Movement: Stayed the same
What is it? AbbVie anti-inflammatory drug
Total estimated spending: $34.5M (up from $30.1M in June)
Number of spots: 7 (3 for arthritis, 2 for ulcerative colitis/Crohn's, 2 for psoriasis)
Biggest-ticket ad: "Teacher” for ulcerative colitis/Crohn's (est. $12.5M)

Watch the ad here

2. Lyrica
Movement: Stayed the same
What is it? Pfizer seizure and pain drug
Total estimated spending: $19.6M (up from $11.9M in June)
Number of spots: 4
Biggest-ticket ad: "Coach" (est. $7.4M)

Watch the ad here

3. Xeljanz XR
Movement: Not on list in June
What is it? Pfizer’s second-line, oral rheumatoid arthritis therapy
Total estimated spending: $15.9M
Number of spots: 1
Ad: "Mother”

Watch the ad here

4. Entresto
Movement: Up from No. 8 in June
What is it? Novartis ($NVS) heart failure treatment
Total estimated spending: $12M (up from $7.6M in June)
Number of spots: 1
Biggest-ticket ad: “Tomorrow”

Watch the ad here

5. Toujeo
Movement: Not on list last month
What is it? Sanofi’s ($SNY) longer-acting insulin
Total estimated spending: $11.9M
Number of spots: 1
Ad: “Journal”

Watch the ad here

6. Eliquis
Movement: Up from No.7  in June
What is it? Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) anticoagulant
Total estimated spending: $11M (up from $8M in June)
Number of spots: 3
Biggest-ticket ad: "DVT and PE Blood Clots" (est. $6.1M)

Watch the ad here

7. Merck disease awareness ads (1 for HPV vaccinations and 3 for shingles)
Movement: Not on list last month
What is it? Unbranded ads (Merck markets HPV vaccine Gardasil and shingles vaccine Zostavax)
Total estimated spending: $9.9M
Number of spots: 4
Biggest-ticket ad: “HPV Vaccination” (est. $7.7M)

Watch the ad here

8. Victoza
Movement: Up from No. 9 in June
What is it? Novo Nordisk ($NVO) GLP-1 diabetes treatment
Total estimated spending: $8.9M (up from $7.1M in June)
Number of spots: 2
Biggest-ticket ad: "Moment of Truth” (est. $7.2M)

Watch the ad here

9. Mylan disease awareness ads
Movement: Not on list last month
What is it? Unbranded ads for anaphylaxis awareness (Mylan markets EpiPen auto-injectors to treat severe allergic reactions)
Total estimated spending: $8.5M
Number of spots: 3
Biggest-ticket ad: “Allergic Reactions”

10. Tresiba
Movement: Not on list last month
What is it? Novo Nordisk longer-acting insulin
Total estimated spending: $8.4M
Number of spots: 2
Biggest-ticket ad: "Ready” (est. $7M)

Watch the ad here

Related Articles:
No holds barred in Mylan’s ultra-realistic peanut allergy campaign
Merck holds parents accountable in new Gardasil ad campaign
AbbVie continues heavy spend on Humira TV ads as biosimilar competition looms

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