Pfizer runs first Cibinqo eczema TV ad as it forgoes actors and leans heavily on a blue hue

Pfizer launched its first TV commercial for its new psoriasis therapy Cibinqo, and it’s giving us the blues.

You may be forgiven for thinking Pfizer had left a generic screensaver on, but no: The TV ad, such as it is, features no actors, no animated characters and no environment. What you get is a lot of blue: a blue background and blue text that flitters around the screen as if under water and feels underwhelming.

That text predominately tells you what the drug does and the fact that it works as a pill, not an injection, and is non-steroidal. There are no emotional beats, and the whole experience could leave the viewer feeling a little cold.

That blue coloring does feel calming, however, which is the message you’d want against the angry redness associated with eczema. The main message from the narrator is: “This is the moment: We have only just begun,” though this is said at the end and leaves us wondering whether it will make a real impact.

Many other recent eczema TV ads play on the theme of itch and relief. Sanofi and Regeneron tapped that itchy redness in its more recent Dupixent ads and how the drug can clear this out and let people get back to their lives.

The 60-second Cibinqo ad does, however, fall in line with an earlier awareness ad, which first ran online in January just after its FDA approval. That ad talked about eczema in general and how it can affect things like mental health. The video, which is on Twitter, also features that blue hue and text.

Still, for a company that made more than $30 billion in sales from Comirnaty last year, you’d think they'd have the marketing budget for something a little more special.

When asked for comment about the Cibinqo ad strategy and budget, Pfizer responded that it doesn't comment on marketing or budget to journalists. But we do know they have coughed up just over $2.3 million on more than 400 airings for the ad since 31 May, when it first aired, according to data from real-time ad trackers at iSpot.

The New York drugmaker nabbed the FDA approval for the oral daily JAK1 inhibitor Cibinqo to treat adults with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis who have not been able to get their disease under control with other medicines including biologics and for those who can't take other treatments.

It had a bumpy path to approval after being hit by a series of delays and a lengthy safety review, and one of its main competitors will be Sanofi and Regeneron’s Dupixent. That blockbuster med is approved for use after topical treatments and ahead of biologics like AbbVie's Humira.

Cibinqo will compete more directly with AbbVie’s Humira follow-up Rinvoq, a fellow JAK inhibitor, which also has an FDA approval in atopic dermatitis when other treatments have failed.

AbbVie ran its new eczema TV ad for Rinvoq this month, too, though it had a very different feel. In the commercial, dubbed "Helicopter," the viewer instantly feels like they have been dropped in a '90s rave spliced with an Air Force recruitment video as AbbVie goes for an all guns blazing approach.

Pfizer still estimates that its drug, despite the competition and not being used in the front-line setting, can generate around $3 billion in peak annual sales.