With fresh depression label in hand, AbbVie gives Vraylar ad campaign 'a lift' with new focus

A patient with depression says she was "stuck" until AbbVie's Vraylar gave her "a lift," which is the theme of the company's latest ad campaign for the mental health drug.

Vraylar, a sales blockbuster for AbbVie that made $2 billion last year, has been approved for schizophrenia and depressive, acute manic and mixed episodes associated with bipolar 1 disorder for several years, but nabbed a new and much coveted label last December to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) alongside an antidepressant therapy.

That label boost should help the drug hit $4 billion in peak annual sales, which AbbVie sees in its future. MDD is a leading cause of disability worldwide; the estimated economic burden of the disorder in the U.S. was estimated to be around $326 billion in 2020.

The large patient population makes it a hot treatment market, especially with the rise in diagnoses thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. No wonder that just five months after the FDA label boost for the drug, AbbVie, for years the king of the ad spenders, is turning to what it knows best: DTCs.

The ad is simple and to the point: The “lift,” shown visually by a woman looking very glum opening her garage, which had been “in her way,” is the central metaphor for the lift she gets from taking Vraylar.

She is then able to mount her bike with a smile on her face and journey around town to buy a new seat for the bike to ride with her child home from school. The ad is heavy with facts about Vraylar's efficacy and safety information but falls into the classic category of uplifting messaging, visuals and music.

One in 5 adults in the U.S. experience MDD, and about half of them still had depressive symptoms after treatment with their first antidepressant. For those patients, Vraylar offers a new treatment option.

At the end of the commercial, the narrator plays on that, saying “I didn’t have to change my treatment; I just gave it a lift” with Vraylar.