Marbury Creative Group and Alimera Sciences are aiming to get diabetic macular edema (DME) treatment Iluvien on patients’ radars with the See Less to See More campaign.

The nine-month effort, which rolled out in 2022, was developed to hyper-target people with a propensity to developing DME — an eye condition marked by retinal thickening, which is typically caused by blood sugar levels being too high over time.

Iluvien was approved by the Food and Drug Administration back in 2014 for the treatment of DME in patients who were previously treated with corticosteroids without a clinically significant rise in intraocular pressure. 

However, Shelly Hoffman, partner and EVP at Marbury, noted that not many patients were aware of the treatment — which can reduce the amount of doctor visits for injections from monthly to up to 36 months.

“One of the big motivations for [Alimera] was to get Iluvien back out into the market — to remind the physicians, but also educate the patients,” Hoffman explained.

Coming out of the quarantine phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, when patients began returning to in-person doctor visits, Marbury sought to leverage that unique opportunity to bring Iluvien to patients’ attention.

“The beautiful thing about Iluvien is that it reduces the amount of appointments and [patients] don’t have to come into the doctor as often,” Hoffman said. “We thought it would be a great time to remind patients about how it would be beneficial for them, so as they start to come back into physician offices and deal with issues of the eye, they have Iluvien as top of mind.”

The campaign consisted of three short TV commercials, which played on the idea that “seeing less” of the doctor could ultimately allow patients to “see more” of the life they want.

“Facing diabetic macular edema? See less trips to the doctor, and see more travel adventures,” one of the videos states. “If your vision is affected by diabetic macular edema, Iluvien may mean protecting your vision with fewer visits for injections. Spend more time getting away with family, and less time going to the doctor.”

“From a creative standpoint, the campaign was focused on bringing light to having something like Iluvien and how that would be beneficial to their lifestyle,” Hoffman said. “If you are dealing with DME, it’s impactful to your everyday life.”

Initial metrics on the campaign showed a 270% increase in new users to the Iluvien website, in addition to more than 60 million impressions to the target market. The campaign focused on reaching people who already have diabetes or may be at a higher risk of developing DME by establishing targeting layers.

Hoffman added that the agency tapped into behavioral targeting, focusing on people who have diabetes or people who are potentially heavy purchasers of sugar-free candy or purchasing insulin.

“We added custom segments on top, like layering on prescription information. Then we used app targeting – things like apps for diabetes recipes, or blood glucose trackers, to ensure we were getting in front of people who have a propensity to have that disease,” she said.

Going forward, the agency plans to track the longer-term impact of the campaign through 2023 and potentially over the next several years. Still, Hoffman hopes the impact will be felt through the TV commercials leaning into the sentimental side of the equation.

“It was important that there was an emotional appeal,” Hoffman said. “This can be difficult in the pharma space, but we wanted to balance the regulations we need to follow with making sure there was an emotional impact and that patients see the value.”