Pfizer trades Tim Daly for patient in 'Who Pneu?' pneumonia awareness campaign

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Pfizer and the American Lung Association have ditched their celeb spokesman on a joint disease awareness push for pneumococcal pneumonia, the disease targeted by the drug giant's vaccine, Prevnar. The duo put a patient at the center of the "Who Pneu?" campaign instead.

Actor Tim Daly is sitting out the new "Who Pneu?" TV campaign as it shifts focus to a 51-year-old woman named Pam who contracted the disease. In the new ad, Pam and her two daughters talk about her experience with the infection--and how surprised they were when she was diagnosed.

The ad continues the mission of the "Who Pneu?" effort started last year to make people 50 and older aware of their increased risk for contracting pneumococcal pneumonia, which results in hospitalizations for 250,000 adults 50+ every year.

"Adults age 50 and older typically believe that you have to be older and sicker to be at risk for pneumococcal pneumonia," a Pfizer spokeswoman said via email. "We hope a key takeaway from Pam’s story is the reality that even if they feel healthy, adults 50 and older are at increased risk for this potentially serious lung disease due to their age alone."

The TV ad began airing in September, and to date Pfizer has spent $4.3 million in TV time, according to data from real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv.

Actor Daly was the face of the initial ad campaign when it was launched last September. In the ad, which also ran in movie theaters, he spoke about his mother's bout and hospitalization with pneumococcal pneumonia. It prompted some unusual responses on Twitter, including a Doctors Without Borders call for Pfizer and GSK to cut the cost of their pneumococcal shots.

Pfizer has a Prevnar 13 branded campaign currently running on TV and in print, with TV spending totaling $9.3 million since that effort began in October, according to iSpot.tv data.

A blockbuster drug for Pfizer, Prevnar 13 tallied $6.3 billion in sales last year, but is expected to face gradual declines over the next five years as more people get the vaccine and the audience size shrinks.