Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary Janssen has launched the latest iteration of its “UnstoppaBOLD” campaign for Stelara, an immunosuppressive drug used to treat Crohn’s disease and psoriatic arthritis.

The next phase of the campaign, which consists of a Spanish-language ad, is meant to drive improved awareness and communication around inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) among the Hispanic community.

Among the three million people living with IBD, 20% are Hispanic while another 20% of patients with Crohn’s disease are Hispanic. 

Elena Cordero, director of marketing for GI immunology at Janssen, noted that the growing percentage of Hispanic patients living with IBD was what drove the team to create a targeted ad for the population.

“Aside from patient brochures that are left in the office that are translated [into Spanish], there’s not much outreach to them,” Cordero explained. “We saw an opportunity to talk to these patients in a more authentic way.”

Historically, simply translating English ads into Spanish falls short of properly engaging those populations, according to Cordero. That’s why the company chose to take it a step further beyond translation and “get into the insights,” she noted. That involved speaking with Hispanic patients with IBD to understand what drove their motivations.

It turns out, not surprisingly, their motivations — and how the disease impacts their life — are different from other populations.

“In the Spanish ad, it’s more about family, cooking and gatherings, and how food impacts their day to day life,” Cordero said. “That was a bit of the shift, and we saw there was high engagement once we started to talk to these patients in a more authentic and a more relatable way.”

Janssen isn’t the only pharma player reaching out to specific patient populations through another language. A couple of months ago, Genentech launched its More Progress, Less Progression direct-to-consumer campaign for Ocrevus in both English and Spanish languages for the multiple sclerosis community. 

Cordero, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico — and is currently a caregiver — said this type of outreach is important to her. Traditionally, the Hispanic patient “tends to be more respectful of authority,” she added, and often not comfortable discussing IBD symptoms with a physician or even family and friends.

“It’s more pronounced in the Hispanic community where you don’t talk about that,” Cordero said. “This gives us an opportunity to open up the conversation and get people comfortable talking about their IBD and going to their physicians.”

She stressed that for future DE&I campaigns, marketers should think beyond translation.

“Focusing on the patient is more important, more impactful than just the translation for us,” Cordero said. “That was the key learning — that investing the time in getting it right is important.”