DDR on DTC: Abilify

Deborah Dick-Rath
Deborah Dick-Rath

Animation lends a light touch to an otherwise heavy category in a campaign for Abilify, an add-on treatment for depression from BMS/Otsuka. There are many treatment options for depression and several DTC advertisers. What's more, the condition and prescribing category are complex, requiring careful monitoring and controls. But the Abilify animation breaks out of the category clutter of sad, “real” people, showing a sufferer who controls her disease, partly by objectifying it and “putting it in its place.”


Animation has been used ­effectively in DTC before to illustrate a disease or condition that is conquered by the drug-hero. In this case, the problem is not a monster, but a shadowy figure that can play tricks on the sufferer and hold her back. It shows up in various executions—as a cloud, a coat, a hole-in-the-ground or a shackle. The campaign ­carries the animation and characters across TV, print, online and website. Even patient testimonials on the website have the same look and feel as the animation.

The animation style also provides an emotional distance from the condition that may allow the sufferer to think, “It's not so bad—and here's a friendly solution that I might try.” I forgot to mention that an animated doctor is on-hand throughout the campaign, too. He delivers his information in a non-threatening way that offers hope and encouragement. As an Rx marketer, what more could you expect from your DTC activity?

Deborah Dick-Rath is the President of Epic Proportions, a Healthcare Communications Consultancy. She can be reached at deborahdrath@optonline.net

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