Johnson & Johnson targets different audiences with Xarelto TV commercial trio

A new ad campaign for Xarelto targets specific audiences for the blood thinner, which is currently in a competitive race with Eliquis. (J&J)

Johnson & Johnson and Bayer are taking Xarelto in a new direction: an ad campaign targeting specific audiences for the anticoagulant. The three new TV ads in the campaign “Stay Protected” are directed at patients with coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation and deep vein thrombosis.

The first commercial has already begun airing with a message about CAD, an indication Xarelto picked up from the FDA last October. The approval to reduce cardiovascular risks in patients with coronary artery disease came on the heels of findings from Xarelto's Compass trial, which showed Xarelto in combination with aspirin could pare down the risk of death, stroke and heart attack by 24% versus aspirin alone. J&J touts the benefits of the aspirin combo in the new Xarelto TV commercial.

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In the ad, a variety of people address the camera talking about the ways that they didn’t have to help—not having to call 911 or not transporting anyone to the hospital, for instance—because of “you who didn’t have another heart attack. Not today.”

The three ads are “complementary, yet distinct, TV commercials,” a J&J spokeswoman said in an email, and they're consistent with the drug’s approved indications. The campaign will run on TV as well as across other communication channels, including digital and point of care, she said.

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Xarelto is in a competitive race in the next-gen anticoagulant market against Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb's Eliquis and Boehringer Ingelheim's Pradaxa. Analysts estimate the new CAD indication can boost the drug against those competitors by bolstering sales by as much as $1.5 billion annually in the U.S. alone.

That said, Xarelto has had a tough time lately, with its share of the warfarin alternative market coming in flat and revenue sagging thanks to U.S. discounting. On a recent earnings call, J&J called 2019 a “trough year” for Xarelto, with Q1 sales of the drug falling 6.3% to $542 million.