Sunovion Pharmaceuticals quietly mothballed a Lunesta TV ad that drew FDA scrutiny, in favor of a spot that reprises the sleep drug’s familiar mascot.
On air nationally since Thanksgiving, the latest commercial features the Luna moth coming to rest on the backs of those with insomnia, as a voiceover states, “Sleep well, on the wings of Lunesta.” Interpublic Group agencies ICC, which is part of Lowe Healthcare, and Deutsch collaborated on the spot.
It’s part of a renewed effort to educate patients and physicians on the importance of treating insomnia, said Tricia Moriarty, Sunovion director of commercial communications. She told MM&M that the launch of the new ad “was not related in any way to FDA’s concerns but part of a fresh new campaign.”
In June 2010 DDMAC cited a previous Lunesta commercial for misleading claims. That ad featured a woman “fighting for sleep” in a bed-turned-boxing ring and implied superiority over other medications, despite a lack of clinical evidence to that effect, while overstating the mechanism of action, DDMAC wrote.
Moriarty said the boxing-bed ad was updated in July to address the untitled letter, and the revised spot was aired from August-November by the company, then known as Sepracor. Sepracor changed its name to Sunovion in October, a year after being acquired by Japan’s Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma.
According to SDI/Kantar Media, for the 12 months ending September 2010, Sepracor increased DTC advertising spend by 78% to about $49 million. That’s more than double the $22.9 million spent by Sanofi-Aventis on consumer messaging for rival sleep drug Ambien CR, which cut its spend 86% during the same period.
Lunesta posted third-quarter US sales of $154 million, vs. $151 million in the second quarter.
Moriarty said the new ad, which also appears on Lunesta.com, may be used in other digital media channels, and those decisions will be made at a later date.