More and more often, healthcare marketers are turning to familiar faces — A-list celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Katie Couric — to cut through the media noise. With their new campaign for asthma drug Tezspire, however, Amgen and AstraZeneca are instead placing their bets on Geraldine.
She’s the spunky grandmother with a passion for hot rods who’s one of the five characters animating, literally and figuratively, the new Tezspire spots. Others include Mel, a mother with asthma seen chopping wood; Hawk, a punk rocker with a fondness for kittens; and Kai, a Samoan ice sculptor, hard at work despite cold air being a trigger. The town in which the Tezspire story unfolds is an inviting place where no one is slowed down by severe asthma.
In a joint conversation, Amgen executive director, Tezspire marketing and sales Kate Tansey Chevlen and AstraZeneca VP, U.S. respiratory and immunology Elizabeth Bodin said that the campaign was devised with two primary goals in mind. “The bright, animated style lets us connect with our target audience — they think, ‘I see somebody like me’ — and it also stands apart,” Bodin noted.
The decision to use animation reflects the breadth of the target audience for Tezspire, the first treatment for severe asthma that does not have any phenotype or biomarker limitations. The campaign aims to reach all 1.3 million Americans with severe asthma, regardless of the type of asthma they have.
“We wanted to pull out this core theme that you shouldn’t be defined by how you look, your age, your body type, your ethnicity, your gender or the type of severe asthma that you have,” Chevlen explained.
Alongside the variety of characters who appear in the spot, a variety of triggers — pollen, exhaust fumes, respiratory viruses and more —– also make cameos.
“It comes back to the insights that we have learned from listening to patients who suffer from severe asthma,” Bodin said. “They live with a sense of apprehension about when they will find themselves in a challenging situation where asthma will impede their ability to live their lives and be themselves.”
The spots debuted at the end of April, a few weeks ahead of the start of Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. Chevlen described them as “much more than a TV spot… We are driving a 360-degree ecosystem across TV, streaming and digital with key tactics like personalized content marketing.”
She added that the campaign will also find a home “in some areas where there is white space, like weather apps. We know patients may go to weather apps wondering what may trigger my asthma today.”
Though the goal of “Be You” is a familiar one — to spark better conversations between patients and physicians — the spots’ animated embrace of diversity represents a new approach in the asthma space.
“We want to inspire patients who are living with severe asthma to seek better control so that they can be who they want to be,” Bodin said. “Their life doesn’t need to be defined by this disease.”