Home HIV test maker preps TV ad fusillade, lures Pfizer marketer

Share this article:

OraSure, the maker of the recently approved home HIV test, has hired an experienced consumer marketer from Pfizer to head up the launch.

The Bethlehem, PA-based diagnostics firm named Kathleen G. Weber SVP and general manager, consumer products. She'll preside over the commercialization of OraSure's lead product, the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test, which won FDA approval in July. The $39 test, which offers users results in 20 minutes based on a saliva swab, is the first home HIV test to hit the market. 

Weber joins OraSure from Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, where she was SVP and led the global Rx-to-OTC switch team, along with the $700 million analgesics and respiratory business. She had previously worked at J&J, where she headed up the $1.3 billion oral care and sanitary protection categories for Listerine, REACH, Stayfree and Carefree, and worked on the OTC switch of Claritin at Schering-Plough. 

The OraQuick test hit store shelves in September, and the company began a PR push, orchestrated by agencies Golin Harris and Zer0 to 5ive, in October, with appearances by Magic Johnson and, on October 15, to coincide with National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, former Miss Venezuela and Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza. TV ads will launch Dec. 1 on cable networks including MTV, A&E, BET, E!, Bravo and Logo, and will air on the Dec. 17 edition of NBC reality show The Voice.

TV ads, by Princeton agency Ferrara & Co., bear the tagline: “Knowing is the best thing.” Initially, the company is targeting the gay, African American and Latino communities with the ads.  Print and banner ads will also run. 

“The core message is around normalizing HIV testing and creating a feeling of inclusion and acceptance,” said Ron Ticho, SVP of corporate communications at OraSure. “It's very non-judgmental. We wanted the tone to be serious but friendly and warm.”

In addition to OraQuick, the company makes a rapid hepatitis C test, a line of swab tests for drug abuse and a cryosurgery medical device for wart removal.

Share this article:
You must be a registered member of MMM to post a comment.

Next Article in Channel


Patient access to pharmaceuticals is a tale of two worlds—affordability has improved for the majority, while the minority is hampered by cost, distribution and red tape. To provide marketers with a well-rounded perspective, MM&M presents this e-book chock full of key insights. Click here to access it.

More in Channel

Five things for pharma marketers to know: Monday, September 15

Five things for pharma marketers to know: ...

Pharma has sought 76 meetings with FDA over biosimilars; Gilead licenses Sovaldi to India generic drugmakers; Pfizer and Ranbaxy Lipitor lawsuit dismissed.

Liraglutide, aiming for new indication, gets new name

Liraglutide, aiming for new indication, gets new name

Why Novo Nordisk is choosing not to leverage Victoza's brand equity as it seeks a weight-loss indication for liraglutide.

Five things for pharma marketers to know: Friday, September 12

Five things for pharma marketers to know: Friday, ...

An FDA panel voted in favor of liraglutide for weight loss; Allergan investors backing an attempted takeover of the firm crossed a critical threshold; and 100 million health wearables are ...