Lilly asks migraine patients to use their imaginations in first DTC push for Emgality

Eli Lilly
Eli Lilly is jumping into the next-generation migraine marketing fray with a new DTC campaign for Emgality. (Eli Lilly)

Eli Lilly’s first effort for migraine drug Emgality had a personal connection for the director of the TV commercial. Robert Stromberg, who has worked on blockbuster movies including “Avatar” and “Maleficent,” knows firsthand the impact of the condition through his wife, who suffers from migraines.

Stromberg was “attracted to the storyline because of the idea of being transported to a fantasy world, and then seeing that translated into real life," Stephanie Maresh, Lilly's consumer marketing director, said in an email.

In the ad, a daughter asks her mom if she feels well enough to play. Her mom smiles and agrees and the two set off to play active pretend games of pirates, robots, pilots and monsters through the duration of the commercial. The narrator asks, “Imagine what you can do with more migraine-free days. When you’re not fighting through migraine, imagine the possibilities.”

The TV ad, called "Playtime," is the first commercial in the “Imagine” campaign for Emgality. Maresh said the work is based on research with patients who experience the sometimes debilitating effects of migraine but say they refuse to give up. The campaign is also running in print, digital and social media.

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The TV ad is the second Eli Lilly ad to include a redirect to pricing information on its dedicated page or by calling a 1-800 number. Lilly announced in January that it would include pricing information for all its TV-promoted drugs and began then with diabetes drug Trulicity. The move follows self-regulation guidelines agreed to by PhRMA members as a countermeasure to the Trump administration's proposal looking to compel pharma companies to add list prices to TV advertising.

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“We are excited about the launch of the campaign and hope that migraine patients see themselves in it—that they feel heard, that they feel that we have listened, we have heard them, and that we are cheering them on,” Maresh said.

The FDA approved Emgality in September as the third next-generation migraine fighter in the CGRP inhibitor class. Competition between it, Amgen’s Aimovig and Teva Pharmaceutical’s Ajovy is a tight, three-way race in an area where patients have seen few advances in years. All three are priced similarly at around $6,900 annually. Lilly got a bump recently that put it in line for a speedy new indication when the FDA granted a Breakthrough Therapy Designation for Emgality in the prevention of episodic cluster headache.