Pharma's ad theme at this year’s Oscars saw a big shift from 2023

Pharma continued its big spend at the Oscars but there was a noticeable absence from the dominant theme we saw during 2023’s awards night.

According to data compiled by real time trackers iSpot.TV for Fierce Pharma Marketing, there were 10 branded drug spots across both the Oscars pre-show and its Red-Carpet programming, as well as the Oscars itself on March 10, according to analysis from iSpot.TV. 

Last year, Pfizer dominated the pharma ads for the awards, with its commercials for two COVID spots accounting for the highest level of spending. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also got in on COVID messaging.

But there has been a big change: there were no COVID ads this year, and just one Pfizer spot. What we had instead is a more diverse group of companies spending similar amounts on very different products.

There were six branded drug ads in total that aired during the actual Oscars show, with each spot airing twice.

UCB ran its first DTC campaign “Get Yourself Back” for its psoriasis medicine, Bimzelx, while Pfizer ran a spot for its pneumonia vaccine, Prevnar 20. Astellas meanwhile ran its new “Not Flash” ad for its hot flush treatment Veozah, and ViiV Healthcare ran its PrEP HIV prevention med commercial “Prep Without Pills.”  

There were also ads from AbbVie and its immunology drug Skyrizi and GSK on the shingles vaccine Shingrix. 

Veozah aired its spot during pre-show coverage, and AbbVie’s Botox injection and Sanofi and Regeneron’s megablockbuster immunology medication, Dupixent, were featured in pre-show coverage, but according to iSpot, they did not air during the Oscars itself, so their spending was not counted.

While not a part of the official Oscars ad spenders, Eli Lilly also aired its own new spot called “Big Night,” but had a different approach as it was set up as a focused attack on Hollywood. Lilly timed the ad to coincide with awards season, specifically the Oscars, and left no doubt about its targets.