Actress and singer Olivia Newton-John is hopelessly devoted—to breast cancer awareness, research and treatment. A recent campaign with Mediaplanet showcased the three-time breast cancer survivor, along with several cancer drugmakers—including Athenex Oncology and Gilead Sciences’ Immunomedics—as well as non-profit associations.
The print and digital work featured Newton-John and her story, along with stories from other well-known survivors such as “cancer fashionista” Melissa Berry and Good Morning America news anchor and 20/20 co-host Amy Robach.
“Everyone knows October is incredible in terms of awareness and breast cancer, but everything does tend to get a bit pinkwashed. What we wanted to do was continue to drive that conversation forward in other months—people get breast cancer in months that are not October,” Sloane Ackerman, senior publisher at Mediaplanet, said.
The content, which appeared online and as a special insert in USA Today, was a 50/50 split of editorial content and pharma advertising, she said. Immunomedics, for instance, promoted its anti-TROP-2 drug Trodelvy for previously treated metastatic triple-negative breast cancer.
Metastatic breast cancer is a competitive therapeutic area, with many brands turning to DTC advertising to reach patients. Brands including Pfizer’s Ibrance, Eli Lilly’s Verzenio and two Novartis drugs—Kisqali and Piqray—have run major ad campaigns in the past two years and spent millions on national TV commercials.