A fairy-tale princess meets reality in HRA Pharma's new ellaOne campaign

EllaOne's ad campaign in the U.K. features a fairy tale-busting theme.

No matter how much society tries to sell overly romanticized happy endings, real women know it’s not that simple. That's the concept behind HRA Pharma’s new digital and print ads in the U.K. for its emergency contraceptive ellaOne. 

The online video ad tagged "We all know fairy tales don't really exist" starts with a classic illustrated fairy tale in which Princess Sophia and her longtime boyfriend Prince Henry enjoy a wonderful evening at the ball. Reality sets in after the romantic evening ends--and when the illustrated drawings cut to a live-action actress. This human Sophia wakes up and considers her options for emergency contraception, to create her own "happy morning after," the ad notes.

“The key message reinforced is that accidents can happen to anyone and if you want to avoid unwanted pregnancy, action should always be taken after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure,” an HRA Pharma spokesperson wrote FiercePharma in an email interview. “By having a presence in the digital space, HRA Pharma is targeting today’s tech-savvy generation who expect instant information and answers in respect to life’s unexpected problems.”

The new work is part of an ongoing marketing and promotional campaign for ellaOne.

EllaOne, marketed as ella in the U.S., is available in the country only by prescription, although a few states allow pharmacist approval before sale. It is also available online from female contraception access advocate Prjkt Ruby, which works with pharmaceutical company Afaxys and a group of physicians to offer online consultations and overnight delivery of ella for those approved and in states that allow online prescriptions.

The main difference between ella’s ulipristal and competitor brands--progestin-only EC such as Teva Pharmaceutical’s ($TEVA) Plan B and other generic levonorgestrel--is that ella prevents ovulation for 5 days after unprotected sex, instead of levonorgestrel's three days.

Ella’s main competitor Plan B One-Step was approved by the FDA for over-the-counter sale in the U.S. to all women in 2013, after its initial 2009 approval by prescription for women 17 and older. Its U.S. TV campaign launched in 2014 has spent more than $15.9  million to date, according to real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv.

When asked whether the new ella ad will debut in the U.S. the HRA Pharma spokeswoman said, “At this stage, the digital advert is being launched in the U.K. only.”

In an interview with Pharmacy Magazine, HRA marketing manager Alison Slingsby said the U.K. campaign is “about changing the perception of ‘the morning after pill’ to something much more positive--something that responsible women look to when the need arises.”

- read the Pharmacy Magazine story
- watch the video ad on Vimeo

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