Pharma companies finished in the middle of the pack of blockbuster TV advertisers during the Olympic Games in Rio. While total TV spending was a whopping $1.18 billion, pharma only contributed $45 million during the 17-day event, according to real time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv.
The top spending pharma brand was Novo Nordisk’s GLP-1 diabetes treatment Victoza at $9.2 million, followed by two Pfizer drugs, the pain medication Lyrica at $9.1 million and the anti-inflammatory Xeljanz at $5.7 million. That compares to top spending consumer brands such as Chrysler, which spent $25 million on one commercial along and $15.2 million on another, or Samsung, which spent $17.1 million on one ad and $12 million on another one.
Overall, 20 pharma brands and companies ran 293 TV ads during Olympic coverage, on channels including NBC primetime and cable outlets NBC Sports, CNBC, MSNBC and USA Network.
Merck, Mylan and Pfizer ran corporate or disease awareness commercials, while some of the other pharma brands airing ads included Bayer and Johnson & Johnson's anticoagulant Xarelto and Lundbeck and Takeda’s antidepressant Trintellix.
However, being a middle-of-the-road advertiser in these Games may not have been a bad move. Bloomberg reported that Olympic Games TV viewership was down 17% from the London Games in 2012, accounting for the first Summer Games’ decline in ratings since 2000.
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