As a rare disease, thyroid eye disease (TED) isn’t immediately recognized or diagnosed. It’s also a disease that hasn’t previously had an effective and long-lasting treatment solution. Horizon Therapeutics research revealed that many patients felt hopeless. “There’s nothing I can do,” they’d shrug. “Any help is only a temporary fix.” 

Being first to market with a long-awaited, potentially disease-reversing treatment, the Tepezza launch was a unique opportunity to disrupt and own the category. But the challenge stemmed from the nature of the illness. Because the symptoms vary widely, patients are more likely to see themselves as suffering from dry or bulging eyes than TED. And while they are aware they have a progressive eye disease, they often attribute symptoms to something less serious. 

The campaign uses animation to create messages that speak the language of patients’ unique journey, using the metaphors and descriptions of patients when describing their system. This led to the depiction of six different symptoms with ads that are acutely relatable. Judges say ads hit the mark quickly, provoking a reaction visceral enough to let patients know that they finally had a legitimate weapon against TED.

The drug got approval in January 2020. Five weeks later, COVID-19 caused the sales team to get pulled from the field. Yet more than 1,000 patients completed therapy in 2020. All leading indicators pointed to the success of the DTC campaign in fueling sales: TED affects an estimated 25,000 people in the U.S.; in less than six months, the ads drove 157,000 unique visitors to the landing page.