It’s been one year since Dr. Sandra Lee — better known to many by her online personality, Dr. Pimple Popper — joined forces with Sun Pharma on its AH-ha campaign, with the AH standing for acne hormones. 

That initial campaign led its audience through a lesson in the role that hormones play in causing acne. 

After that successful launch, Dr. Lee has returned for another campaign with Sun Pharma to support Winlevi, its prescription topical cream. 

Dr. Sandra Lee

She appears in three spots on connected TV — the first titled “Family Dinner,” which is already airing — along with two other ads set to debut later this year. Lee will also be featured in paid social media and online video display ads.

Some 50 million Americans are affected by acne each year and Andy Nelson, SVP of sales and marketing at Sun Pharma, sees the campaigns featuring Lee as important tools to encourage patients to visit a dermatologist. 

“Only three out of 10 acne patients actually go into a dermatologist and ask about their options and what they can do,” Nelson says. “Our aim is, through both campaigns, to have more folks understand that there is something that they can do.”

While the first campaign was focused on acne hormones the next moves on to sebum, the oily wax that, when excessive, can lead to acne. 

It is one of the four pillars of acne, along with keratinization within the follicle, the proliferation of bacteria, and inflammation. Nelson describes the second campaign as a natural progression from the first. 

“You begin with a broad subject matter that tries to get people to think about the acne space,” he says. “Now we’re talking about an evolution where you’re focusing down on ‘What can I do about it?’ So it’s a natural progression.”

An unfortunate reality of acne is that among many in the target audience for Winlevi, which Nelson describes as 12- to 17-year-olds (as well as young adults from ages 18 to 34 and the parents of teenagers), a sense of shame is common. 

Some of that is fueled by misunderstandings about the root causes of acne. 

“They can internalize feelings of shame and that can lead to other problems,” Nelson explains. “It’s important that they know that their acne is a treatable medical condition. Even more important is that it’s not their fault. It’s not caused by not washing or any of those other myths that you hear.”

Lee’s fame as Dr. Pimple Popper and her ability to connect with this audience was part of the success of the first campaign and why Nelson is optimistic about the second one as well. 

The latest campaign is also built around humor, which comes naturally to her. 

The first of the three spots opens with a family gathered around the dinner table and the kids repeating the word “sebum” (which is bleeped out) to the shock of their parents. 

Then Lee appears and explains that sebum is not a bad word at all but instead merely an oily wax that builds up and can cause acne if it’s not controlled. She then pulls the tablecloth off in one swift move, revealing the Winlevi name underneath it. 

“When you look at reaching this demographic, humor’s one vehicle that you can use to encourage conversation and engagement,” Nelson says. “It is one way of engaging somebody and stopping them in their tracks if they’re scrolling through whatever app they’re using. It’s definitely one route to get people to lighten up and loosen up a little bit and maybe start a conversation they’re not ready to have.”

In addition to the CTV spots, the campaign’s being promoted through paid social media and digital video display ads. 

The campaign website has been enhanced with additional content by Lee, who is also sharing the campaign via her own social media posts to her followers who number more than 900,000 on Instagram and, as Dr. Pimple Popper, more than 908,000 on Facebook.