AstraZeneca sends James Van Der Beek 'camping' to promote flu vaccination

Still shot from AstraZeneca's "Just the Flu Facts" video starring James Van Der Beek--Courtesy of AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca's ($AZN) FluMist Quadrivalent is the only needle-free, four-strain flu vaccine--and the company wants to make sure people know it. It's brought on James Van Der Beek--of "Dawson's Creek" fame--to participate in its "Insist on the Mist" campaign.

Van Der Beek, who's set to star on the upcoming "CSI: Cyber" and recently played himself on ABC's "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23," has partnered with AZ to create a series of video, infographic and radio content. He's also working to spread the word via traditional and social media, he told FiercePharmaMarketing.

"My family didn't get vaccinated for the flu last winter, and while my wife was 9 months pregnant, we ended up with two kids sick with the flu. It was a nightmare," he told FiercePharmaMarketing via email. "Before I decided to join this campaign, I did some pretty extensive research about the flu and talked to my doctor. I was surprised to learn that there are number of commonly held myths about the flu that even I thought were true."

Van Der Beek confronts those myths in a video titled "Just the Flu Facts," which features a camping trip with his daughter in their living room. One of the common misconceptions he debunks while roasting marshmallows over a lightbulb and propping up a less-than-sturdy tent? That traditional shots are the only way patients can protect themselves.

"As a dad of three kids under the age of four, I spend a lot of time playing games with my kids. In this video, we wanted to bring some of that to life," he said. AstraZeneca launched the video last week.

Van Der Beek isn't the first '90s TV celeb to help promote AstraZeneca's flu-fighting nasal spray. His video follows "I Insist," another "Insist on the Mist" video featuring Tia Mowry of "Sister Sister" that rolled out last year.

And speaking of last year, AstraZeneca's flu vaccines posted a performance the British drugmaker wouldn't mind repeating. Premium-priced quadrivalents drove a hefty sales leap for the company--as well as fellow vaccine makers GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and Sanofi ($SNY)--with its flu vaccine revenue jumping 56% in the fourth quarter.

- read the release
- watch the video

Special Report: Major FDA vaccine approvals of 2012 - FluMist