Purdue plots $100M ad push for new sleep drug

The advertising business is salivating over an increasingly rare bird: The big-budget media blitz for a new mass-market drug. Purdue Pharma has earmarked $100 million for spending on Intermezzo, its newly launched insomnia drug, Advertising Age reports.

Touting Intermezzo on the airwaves and in print makes perfect sense. It's a sleep drug, selling in a market where insomnia is rampant. Previous sleep-drug campaigns have been successful in capturing the public imagination at the very least; remember that Lunesta moth? Plus, Intermezzo is designed to tackle a sleep problem that other insomnia drugs aren't made to address: middle-of-the-night sleeplessness.

Purdue's marketing plans, cited in a recent 10-K filing by its partner Transcept Pharmaceuticals, are unusual these days. Budgets that big are an endangered species in pharma advertising, Ad Age notes, with the last big blockbuster launch being Lunesta, which got a $100 million budget in 2005, and another $320 million in follow-up the next year.

"In general, there have been fewer and fewer launches at that ad-spend level," one marketing consultant told the trade pub. And as an agency executive points out, that's partly because there have been fewer launches of mass-market drugs with blockbuster potential. "You can't market what you don't have," the agency chief told Ad Age.

Overall spending on direct-to-consumer advertising has been on the wane for the last five years. From a record $5.4 billion in 2006, DTC spending dwindled to $4.34 billion in 2011, a 20% decline.

- read the Ad Age story

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