Kudos to Astellas and its ­Myrbetriq brand for a DTC campaign that pulls all of DTC’s levers. Myrbetriq is another entrant in that DTC mainstay category of overactive bladder (OAB). We’ve seen a lot of approaches in this “lifestyle” category over the years, including Astellas’ own pipe-people. But we’ve never seen a walking, cute little bladder until now. This little guy is great—an instant icon. He acts like a naughty child—personifying the disease—trying to drag our patient into the restroom at the most inconvenient times.

The :60 commercial reflects a classic problem-solution narrative. Our bad boy bladder is taken to the doctor where we learn about the benefits of Myrbetriq and see a wonderful package shot of the brand. Our little bladder pays close attention, and in the resolution scenes, he is relaxed and not bothering the patient.

I admit that I am a sucker for anthropomorphic characters in ads like the Nasonex Bee, Lamisil’s Digger, even the Mucinex Slob. Such characters in or outside of DTC help define brand personality and drive memorability. In this case, the walking bladder works to help educate patients and destigmatize the condition.

The brand website reinforces the user-friendliness/helpfulness seen in the TV ad. Of course, our little bladder is there too. I expect we’ll see a lot more of him. After all, it’s a competitive category and there’s a new kid in town making noise—in all the right ways.

Deborah Dick-Rath is the president of Epic Proportions, a healthcare communications consultancy. She can be reached at [email protected]