Pfizer crafts up Nexium 24HR sock puppets for Facebook-only campaign 

The little purple pill now has little sock puppets. In a Facebook-only ad campaign, Lenny, Suzie and assorted other sock puppet spokescharacter friends discuss heartburn and Pfizer’s Nexium 24HR solution.

The sock puppet social media scenes carry the theme “Don’t let heartburn get in the way,” offering Nexium 24HR as the antidote to heartburn-induced stress and eating certain foods.

The puppets “depict heartburn trigger situations in which people have to deal with the condition as though it were an unwelcome guest. The humor and use of puppets diminishes the power of heartburn and reinforces the power of Nexium 24HR,” according to Pfizer, via an email interview.

The ads were created in conjunction with the marketing and social media agency Revolution Digital and were designed specifically for Facebook. The campaign began running in September with the target audience as “frequent heartburn sufferers who do not believe they will ever fully be able to manage their condition,” Pfizer said.

Pfizer bought the over-the-counter rights to Nexium from AstraZeneca in 2012 for $250 million, and Nexium 24HR was approved by the FDA for sale in 2014, the same year prescription Nexium went off patent. Last year, Pfizer CEO Ian Read told analysts in a Q2 financial call that “since its launch (in May), Nexium has generated revenues of approximately $300 million, making it one of the largest and most successful Rx to OTC switches."

More recently Pfizer reported in a Q1 press release that its consumer healthcare division revenue was up 10% “primarily due to Nexium 24HR and Advil, both in the U.S., reflecting strong demand following increased promotion and the launch of a tablet form for Nexium 24HR in first-quarter 2016.”

Under AstraZeneca as a prescription drug, Nexium tallied $3.87 billion in 2013, its last full year without a generic competitor. AstraZeneca tussled with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories in 2015 over the use of the color purple for its generic Nexium capsules, ending with courts agreeing that purple was part of the trademark. 

- read Pfizer’s Q1 report

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