X marks the spot: Merz rolls new Xeomin brand push, awareness effort targeting 'Xennials'

Merz comes out swinging in the cosmetic injection market with campaigns to generate awareness about treatments other than Botox. (Merz)

The botulinum toxin drug market is tough to crack, especially for any treatment that doesn’t go by the name Botox.

Merz Americas hopes to change that with a new ad campaign that pushes its cosmetic injection message on two fronts: an awareness effort to let consumers know there are other options in the category and a branded effort to target the Xennial microgeneration.

Xennials are the cohort between Gen X and Millennials, and Merz believes they're a key target group for Xeomin. In research for the campaigns, Merz brought in groups of Xennials, defined as people born in the late ’70s and early ’80s who grew up in an analog world but easily adopted smartphones and social media. Merz invited the women to sit down with girlfriends in an informal setting with wine and cheese, where they had real—and sometimes emotional—conversations about cosmetic injections, said Christina Meyer, senior director of injectables marketing, aesthetics, at Merz North America.

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“What we identified is, there is still a huge stigma with this category. In this day and age where we’re breaking down barriers and breaking down stigma in so many other areas, this still seems to be a place where there is a lot of judgment and stigma about women who chose to get cosmetic injections,” she said.

RELATED: Botox rivals are looming. That's why its new ads urge women—and men—to insist on the brand

The Later Haters campaign speaks specifically to that stigma and to the emotional, rather than demographic, cohort of “Reclaimers” such as professional women turning 40 or mothers of young school-age children who want to take time for themselves. They’re more interested in cosmetic treatments; adults younger than 45 are nearly twice as likely as those older than 45 to be considering a treatment in the next year.

“It’s about empowering women to say, I don’t care what anyone else thinks. If this is going to make me feel like my best self and help me reclaim my individuality, then I shouldn’t feel embarrassed about doing it,” Meyer said, adding, "Why do we have to feel embarrassed or judged or shamed when we want to do something good for ourselves to feel good about ourselves?”

The social-first campaign includes a 60-second TV ad deployed in key target markets but will focus more heavily on social media, including the launch of Instagram account @Xeominaesthetic and work with social influencers. The effort kicked off in New York with a launch party partnered with Condé Nast, which as Meyer pointed out, is “all about unapologetic beauty and beauty on your own terms.”

RELATED: Allergan amps aesthetics advertising in bid to keep flagship Botox on top

The unbranded effort online at www.justxitout.com features a 30-second video with two women who are “done apologizing for caring about how we look,” adding, “And guess what? We’ve got choices.” A “learn more” button links to the Xeomin branded website.  

To create the campaigns, Merz partnered with MullenLowe, a consumer agency with a health and beauty background rather than a pharma-specific focus. BioSector2, a Syneos Health company, is covering public relations, and Razorfish Health handles professional marketing.

Xeomin was approved for cosmetic use in 2011 for temporary improvement in the appearance of frown lines between the eyebrows and was set to roll out in 2012. However, it was delayed another 10 months after Allergan sued and won an injunction over employees that left Botox to go work on Xeomin at Merz.

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