Pharma TV buys so far top last year's $1B spend; AbbVie, Pfizer lead September

16 October 2018

Beth Snyder Bulik / FiercePharma

Call it blockbuster TV ad spending. With three quarters down and one to go, national media buys are tracking ahead of last year. The top 10 brands dropped $1.19 billion through Sept. 30, according to data from real-time TV ad tracker—and that's a 12% increase over the $1.07 million spent so far last year.

Total spending across the 70 or so pharma brands that bought any national TV time this year also saw double-digit growth. Those brands together shelled out $2.81 billion, up 11% over last year.

Meanwhile, for the month of September, AbbVie’s Humira held on to No. 1, followed by Pfizer’s Lyrica and its Bristol-Myers Squibb-partnered Eliquis in second and third place. Pharma's top 10 TV brands paid out $139 million in September, following the downward trajectory that's been in place since the end of June.

One newcomer to the list was Allergan’s antipsychotic Vraylar, which began TV ads in April with a “house of cards” metaphor for the manic side of bipolar disease. In September, it added a new commercial continuing the theme, this time featuring a man gardening in the middle of the night. As the camera pulls back, he's shown working atop the same shaky house of cards.

Truvada jumped back on the list after a month off, with the same provocative “On the Pill” TV ad for the pre-exposure HIV prophylaxis indication that helped it make the list in July. Once again, the ad got a heavy rotation in September over a few weeks and then dropped off, according to iSpot’s data.

1. Humira
Stayed same
What is it? AbbVie anti-inflammatory drug
Total estimated spending: $26.5 million (up from $25.9 million in August)
Number of spots: Seven (Three for arthritis, three for ulcerative colitis/Crohn's, two for psoriasis)
Biggest-ticket ad: “Your Wake-Up Call ” for arthritis (est. $6.7 million)

HUMIRA TV Commercial, 'Your Wake-Up Call'
Humira is a prescribed injection intended to provide relief for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

2. Lyrica
 Stayed the same
What is it? Pfizer seizure and pain drug
Total estimated spending: $21.2 million (up from $20.6 million in August)
Number of spots: Six
Biggest-ticket ad: “Firefighter” (est. $6.9 million)

Lyrica TV Commercial, 'Firefighter'
A man says before he had shooting, burning diabetic nerve pain, his feet helped him raise a "good sport" and become a firefighter. When he couldn't bear the pain any longer, his doctor prescribed Lyrica and now, he's able to keep up with a group of kids on a field trip to the firehouse.

3. Eliquis
Movement: Up from No. 8
What is it? Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb anticoagulant
Total estimated spending: $17.4 million (up from $9 million in August)
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “Around the Corner” (est. $13.3 million)

ELIQUIS TV Commercial, 'Around the Corner'
After a woman has a blood clot caused by deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, she worries that another one may be around the corner. She protects herself with ELIQUIS, which has been proven to treat and prevent DVT blood clots while causing less major bleeding than LOVENOX.

4. Trulicity
Movement: Up from No. 5
What is it? Eli Lilly GLP-1 diabetes drug
Total estimated spending: $12.7 million (up from $14.9 million in August)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Do More: Firefighter” (est. $12.4 million)

Trulicity TV Commercial, 'Do More: Firefighter'
Trulcity is a drug designed to improve blood sugar and lower A1C in patients with Type 2 Diabetes by helping the body release its own insulin along with diet and exercise. Patients should consult with their doctor before starting Trulicity.

5. Xeljanz
Movement: Down from No. 3
What is it? Pfizer oral rheumatoid arthritis therapy
Total estimated spending: $12.1 million (down from $17.7 million in August)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Cactus” (est. $5.2 million)

Xeljanz XR TV Commercial, 'Cactus'
Xeljanx XR is a prescribed oral medication intended to help those who suffer from Rheumatoid arthritis when taken regularly as ordered.

6. Truvada
 Not on list last month
What is it? Gilead’s HIV and PrEP drug
Total estimated spending: $10.44 million
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “On the Pill”

Truvada TV Commercial, 'On the Pill'
TRUVADA for PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a prescribed medication that is intended to help lower the chances of contracting HIV-1 through sex when taken regularly as ordered.

7. Vraylar
Not on list last month
What is it? Allergan antipsychotic drug
Total estimated spending: $10.43 million
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Nighttime Yard Work” (est. $5.9 million)

VRAYLAR TV Commercial, 'Nighttime Yard Work'
A man suffering from a manic episode due to his Bipolar 1 disorder ends up checking off his outdoor chores in the middle of the night.

8. Otezla
Down from No. 7
What is it? Celgene's oral treatment for plaque psoriasis
Total estimated spending: $9.8 million (up from $12.4 million in August)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Little Things Can Be a Big Deal”

[Editor's Note: Ad not available on by request of advertiser.]

9. Jardiance
 Up from No. 10
What is it? Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim SGLT2 diabetes treatment
Total estimated spending: $9.3 million (up from $8.7 million in August)
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “What Matters to You” (est. $6.1 million)

Jardiance is a prescribed medication intended to help those who suffer from Type 2 Diabetes when taken regularly as ordered and combined with diet and moderate exercise.

10. Xarelto
 Down from No. 6
What is it? Johnson & Johnson next-gen anticoagulant
Total estimated spending: $9 million (down from $12.9 million in August)
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “Selective” (est. $4.8 million)

Xarelto TV Commercial, 'Selective'
Xarelto spotlights the stories of two of its users, Bob and Tiffany. When Bob's plane landed, he could see his leg didn't look right and was later treated for DVT. Tiffany had just finished a motorcycle ride when she felt a pain in her chest, which she found out was caused by a PE blood clot.



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