Buffy the asthma inhaler? Teva taps 'Vampire Slayer' actress to raise inhaler misuse awareness

Sarah Michelle Gellar features as the voice of an animated pink inhaler in Teva's new awareness spot. (Teva)

It’s Buffy the asthma slayer—well, sort of. Teva's latest awareness ad tackling asthma inhaler misuse stars actress and producer Sarah Michelle Gellar, who played Buffy in the popular TV show “Buffy, The Vampire Slayer."

The animated spot, launching today, chronicles the “Inhaler Tales" starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. Gellar is the voice of a talking pink inhaler, addressing doctors about the problems with improper use of inhalers by patients.

"We know that a lot of patients are not getting the full benefit of treatment because they aren't using their inhalers as prescribed or are not using them correctly,” Manny Montalvo, senior vice president and head of digital health and innovation for Teva, said. “In fact, we just partnered with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, and we found that about 45% of the patient respondents are not using their inhalers as prescribed.”

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Despite Gellar's inhaler’s chirpy, “Hi there, Doc!” Montalvo said the spot is meant to reach not just doctors but all healthcare providers, patients and caregivers about the problems of improper inhaler usage. The campaign microsite features the video ad along with more resources for patients and doctors.

Gellar, who was diagnosed with asthma as a child, spoke out previously about her asthma on her social channels, specifically in relation to getting vaccinated against COVID-19. She will promote the spot on her personal platforms as well as do media interviews.

“Sarah has struggled with asthma for most of her life and she really knows firsthand what an asthma patient has to go through; not being able to breathe really affects a lot of people. With her help, we hope to bring awareness to the overall campaign," Montalvo said.

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The launch includes both trade and national media, and, while the campaign is unbranded, there is a big push at the end toward the use of smart inhalers.

“Consider connected care and digital health options including smart inhalers that allow you and your patients to collect objective data,” Gellar the inhaler says.

Teva holds a major share in the smart inhaler space, with three currently on the market. Most recently, the ArmonAir Digihaler monotherapy maintenance treatment joined its Pro-Air Digihaler for rescue treatment and AirDuo Digihaler for combination maintenance.

By going digital, Teva plans to extend the products' reach and will also be able to collect data and feedback about real-world use.