Lately, Abbott has taken a leadership role in DTC, primarily for their multi-billion-dollar Humira franchise. They have marketed this monolithic brand with the power and expertise of a classic, gold-standard CPG or automotive brand, replete with multiple line extensions and satellite brands. The latest example of Humira’s command of DTC brand marketing can be seen in the campaign for its Crohn’s disease indication.

An effective educational/unbranded campaign was launched in July 2011 and ran until March 2012, whereupon the branded campaign took over. The unbranded campaign spoke to the anxiety that people with this disease have and encouraged a discussion with a gastroenterologist. Even though the commercials focused on the emotional anxiety of Crohn’s, the ads offered hope and a potential solution.

Then, the branded campaign took up where the unbranded effort left off. The message shifted from the anxious “what if?” platform for untreated sufferers to reaching out to diagnosed patients to tell them that this brand can help resolve recurring symptoms and, importantly, share the news that “Remission is Possible.”

This advertising won’t win a Cannes Lion for creativity. The website and surrounding tactics are fairly predictable. But what is fantastic about this campaign is the capacity that Abbott shows to be a brand steward for Humira. In the long run, that is sure to bring the greatest rewards to Abbott.

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