Pharma brand TV spending continues upswing in October, led by AbbVie and BMS

watching tv
TV viewers continue to get their fill of pharma commercials with robust spending still on tap in October. (iStock/AndreaObzerov)

Pharma kept up the spending pace on TV in October. The top 10 brands nudged to $187 million total spending for the month, just ahead of September's already robust $182 million.

That’s in spite of AbbVie Humira dropping its spending by $20 million. Though it held onto the top slot even after that spending cut, other brands stepped up—to the tune of 16 drugs that each spent more than $10 million for the month.

One brand new to the list was Novo Nordisk’s oral GLP-1 diabetes med Rybelsus with its first TV ad. The animated commercial—created in that format because of COVID-19 restrictions—features a bright, happy world and upbeat remake of the golden oldie song “You are My Sunshine.” The promo for the only oral GLP-1 drug targets patients who are newly diagnosed as well as patients looking for options in managing blood sugar and weight.

Returning to the list in October were two antipsychotic drugs: Sunovion’s Latuda and Lundbeck and Otsuka’s Rexulti, both having launched new TV creative recently.

October marks another month of above-average spending for major pharma brands, tracking well above October 2019 spending of $165 million. The $187 million and $182 million spent in October and September 2020, respectively, continue the upswing from August’s $148 million and July’s $136 million.

1. Humira
Movement: Stayed same
What is it? AbbVie anti-inflammatory drug
Total estimated spending: $37.3 million (down from $57.7 million in September)
Number of spots: Five (Two for arthritis/psoriasis, three for ulcerative colitis/Crohn's)
Biggest-ticket ad: “Body of Proof: Bicycling, Painting, Traveling” (est. $15.2 million)


2. Opdivo and Yervoy
Movement: Up from No. 3
What is it? Bristol Myers dual-immunotherapy cancer regimen
Total estimated spending: $22 million (down slightly from $22.7 million in September)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Combination Immunotherapy”


3. Rybelsus
Movement: Not on list last month
What is it? Novo Nordisk oral GLP-1 diabetes med
Total estimated spending: $21.9 million
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Wake Up”


4. Skyrizi
Movement: Up from No. 6
What is it? AbbVie next-gen psoriasis treatment
Total estimated spending: $19.3 million (up from $11.3 million in September)
Number of spots: Four
Biggest-ticket ad: “Nothing is Everything” (est. $8.7 million)
 


5. Dupixent
Movement: Down from No. 2
What is it? Regeneron and Sanofi atopic dermatitis and asthma treatment
Total estimated spending: $16.4 million (down from $23.1 million in September)
Number of spots: Four (Two for atopic dermatitis, two for asthma)
Biggest-ticket ad: “Du More: Backyards and Rain” (est. $9 million)


6. Jardiance
Movement: Up from No. 8
What is it? Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim SGLT2 diabetes treatment
Total estimated spending: $15.4 million (up from $10.4 million in September)
Number of spots: Four
Biggest-ticket ad: “Community Garden” (est. $7.1 million)


7. Latuda
Movement: Not on list last month
What is it? Sunovion Pharmaceutical antipsychotic
Total estimated spending: $14.8 million
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Art”


8.  Descovy
Movement: Down from No. 4
What is it? Gilead Sciences next-gen PrEP HIV drug
Total estimated spending: $13.5 million (down slightly from $13.7 million in September)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Prep Up”


9. Enbrel
Movement: Stayed same
What is it? Amgen’s TNF inhibitor for autoimmune diseases
Total estimated spending: $13.42 million (up from $10 million in September)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Erin & Margo”


10. Rexulti
Movement: Not on list last month
What is it? Otsuka and Lundbeck antipsychotic
Total estimated spending: $13.41 million
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “These Days: Savings Card Benefit” (est. $7.9 million)