Eyelove, the sequel: Jennifer Aniston reprises her starring role in Shire's dry eye awareness push

Time for more eyelove, and more Jennifer Aniston. Since the Shire disease awareness campaign launched more than a year ago, the eye community told Shire they wanted more Jen. So the pharma obliged, with original celebrity spokesperson Aniston even more front and center in its just-launched “eyelove” creative.

Aniston kicked off the eyelove campaign in fall 2016 in ads, telling the story of how she found out she had dry eye. But the latest work is meant to showcase even more of her personality.

In the new TV ad, Aniston plays the pop culture game “This or That” with a narrator as she demonstrates the choices. Flip-flops or boots? Smoky or natural eye? Calling or texting? Puppies or kitties? And finally—dry eyes or artificial tears?

Aniston stops and addresses the camera, “Wait, that’s a trick question. Because they can both get in your way. That’s why it is super important to chat with your eye doctor if you’re using artificial tears a lot and your eyes still feel dry.”

The new TV ad debuted on the Golden Globe awards Sunday. This next phase of the eyelove campaign also includes print, digital, social and in-pharmacy executions. Shire’s ad agency for eyelove is Digitas Health.

“Jen is a big engagement vehicle for us. People really relate to her, and we want to pull that through in all of our channels,” said Vic Noble, global head of brand value at Shire.

"Jen kicked off the momentum we wanted in tapping into that girlfriend voice," Noble added in an interview. "We want to pull that through the entire eyelove campaign.”

As part of that girlfriend-voice strategy to reach women, Shire and Digitas also created an original online social series last year, “In My Bag,” in which two women meeting each other for the first time switch bags and go through their contents. One of each pair has been diagnosed with dry eye disease, while the other is symptomatic. The lighthearted, chatty and often funny short videos each include some discussion of the problems and symptoms of dry eye, but fit into the overall theme of girlfriend chats and sharing stories.

Typical conversations include observations and commonalities. For instance, in one of the six videos already produced with two women named Marina and Danielle, Danielle is looking through Marina’s wallet and notes, “You like your coupons.” Maria interjects, “I feel like I’m turning into my mother,” and Danielle agrees, “Aren’t we all?”

RELATED: Shire's new dry-eye approval means it's time for an Allergan showdown

The eyelove campaign has been a success with both its consumer and professional customers. Shire was new to the dry eye space when eyelove launched, but after a year, Shire research found that more than 90% of healthcare professionals connected the eyelove campaign to Shire. During 2017, the dry eye market also grew by 25%, she said. And even though the target audience is women 40-plus who are symptomatic, men have responded well to the campaign, too.

“Eyelove is about disease awareness, but in our minds, it’s really around disease engagement. We want people to engage with our content, engage with our platform and most importantly, drive engagement with their doctors,” Noble said.

Shire joined the market in 2016 with its dry eye treatement Xiidra, taking on the incumbent, Restasis from Allergan, although the two products are approved for different indications. Xiidra is approved specifically for dry eye, while Restasis is indicated for increasing tear production only. Shire marketing includes a separate branded marketing campaign for Xiidra with work, also from Digitas Health, that uses the "ii" in the drug’s name to create visual plays on words.