Lundbeck, Otsuka dial down the drama for first branded Rexulti agitation ad, focusing on love for mom

Lundbeck and Otsuka have adopted a soft tone for their first branded ad for Rexulti in dementia-related agitation, replacing the violence and discordance of their earlier awareness spot with a focus on how much children continue to love their parents as they start to lose them to Alzheimer’s disease.

The partners landed FDA approval for Rexulti in dementia-related agitation in May and ran an unbranded ad to raise awareness of the condition in July. That ad featured dramatic shifts in tone, swinging from gentle piano to discordant noise as the narrator discussed how hands that used to comfort them had “become violent.”

For their first branded TV spot in the indication, Lundbeck and Otsuka have taken a different approach to communicating the experience of seeing a loved one develop dementia-related agitation. The ad starts with a woman sitting with her mom. As the camera zooms in, a voice-over says, “my mom's Alzheimer's never changed how much we love her, but it did change her.” After a close-up of the mom, the ad shows shadows of the two people, with the mom being agitated and the daughter trying to calm her down.

“She developed agitation that may happen with dementia due to Alzheimer's disease. She started yelling, pacing around, kept repeating the same questions. She got agitated often,” the daughter says. 

While the ad conveys the symptoms of dementia-related agitation, it does so in a gentler way than the disease awareness video. A piano plays throughout, with the tempo picking up as the ad shows what happened when the daughter asked her mom’s doctor for help. 

After the Rexulti label appears, we see a shadow clearing from the mom’s face and, in the next scene, her daughter putting a blanket over her shoulders outside. At one point, the mom wanders off, but she is calm when her daughter guides her back to her seat. The spot ends with the mom sitting calmly outside, surrounded by loved ones, watching family videos on a projector. 

The ad marks a ratcheting up of Lundbeck and Otsuka’s efforts to capitalize on the opportunity created by the expansion of the label to cover dementia-related agitation. Rexulti generated 2.85 billion Danish kroner ($402 million) for Lundbeck last year.