Novartis puts spokesceleb Cyndi Lauper in host chair for life-with-psoriasis podcast

Cyndi Lauper singer songwriter in 2017 at a Kinky Boots premier
Cyndi Lauper, shown here at a 2017 Broadway show premier, hosts the new “PsO in the Know” show featuring guests living with psoriasis. (Eva Rinaldi from Sydney Australia)(Eva Rinaldi from Sydney Australia / CC BY-SA)

Singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper tackles a new project in Novartis' psoriasis awareness campaign as host of a podcast interview show.

The “PsO in the Know” show guests will include celebrity friends living with psoriasis, including well-known chef Aaron Sanchez, author La La Anthony and actor Dan Bucatinsky. Other patients will also join Lauper to talk about the ins and outs of living with psoriasis.

The show will be available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Pandora and Stitcher.

Lauper has been a Novartis spokesperson since 2015, working on its psoriasis awareness campaigns and appearing in branded ads for the company's immunology blockbuster Cosentyx.

Lauper currently appears in a branded TV ad, along with two other real patients who talk about how long their skin has been clear using the med. Lauper notes “Four years clear” in the latest commercial, which is part of Novartis’ long-running “See Me” campaign for Cosentyx.

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On the unbranded side, Lauper’s work stretches back to her initial "I'm PsO Ready" campaign in 2015 through last year’s workplace advocacy push, “PsO at Work.”

Lauper acknowledged her longtime advocacy for people living with psoriasis as a mission to inspire others “to speak up and celebrate everyday successes,” she said in a news release.

During her tenure as spokesperson, the psoriasis market has not only become much more competitive, but so has the marketing. AbbVie’s Skyrizi, for instance, is the latest category entrant, debuting with a splashy TV campaign and dropping $144 million on six different commercials in the exactly one year since launch, according to data from iSpot.tv.

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Other competitors with TV ad campaigns include Eli Lilly's Taltz, Johnson & Johnson’s Tremfya, Amgen’s Otezla and Sun Pharma’s Ilumya.

The new Novartis podcast also joins a growing trend by pharma companies to add the streaming media to their mix of communication channels. Pfizer has a growing stable of shows on subjects including vaccines and menopause, for instance, while Merck created a COVID-19 information podcast. Genentech has a long-running science show, and Eli Lilly talks research and development on its “The Elixir Factor.”