Salix Pharma launches first streaming TV ad for Relistor, with 'mischievous' MU-MAN providing a gut check on constipation

Salix Pharmaceuticals has launched the first connected TV commercial for its opioid-induced constipation drug Relistor and is relying on an unusual, animated character to help lead the push.

The new commercial, which is now running on streaming services including Netflix and Apple TV, introduces MU-MAN, which a Salix spokesperson described to Fierce Pharma Marketing as a “small, pink, mischievous, animated character that represents the patient’s gut.”

MU-MAN is a metaphor for how difficult it is to live with your gut while experiencing opioid-induced constipation. The "MU" in MU-MAN plays on Relistor's mechanism of action, which works as a mu-opioid receptor antagonist.

In the 60-second ad, MU-MAN’s obstinate mood changes and relief is felt once the patient in the commercial gets Relistor. You then see MU-MAN make dinner with the Relistor user.

This is the first streaming commercial for Relistor but won’t be used on general TV networks. It does, however, play on the formal Relistor website.  

The Salix spokesperson said the ad targets people ages 18-75 years old that are chronic pain patients and are currently using over-the-counter laxatives or are looking for OTC laxatives and other remedies for opioid constipation relief.

Salix, a part of the Bausch Health family, has been thinking digital when it comes to Relistor marketing for a while now. In late 2021, it tapped TikTok for the first time, using a group of well-known healthcare professionals on the social media video site to help boost its constipation campaign.