Name of Company: Takeda Pharmaceuticals
Agency which created Ad: AbelsonTaylor
Agency submitting: AbelsonTaylor
Creative Rationale: In 1999 Takeda Pharmaceuticals had the opportunity to launch a new TZD product for type 2 diabetes. But, we were third to market. Parke Davis’ Rezulin, the innovator, was well liked by endocrinologists but had a very clear, albeit infrequent, incidence of liver cancer. GSK launched Avandia, a new TZD without the liver cancer issue. In truth, there were few clinical differences between Avandia and Actos. Our approach was to make the use of a TZD “friendlier” – the products had relatively few adverse reactions and good efficacy. We were determined to be the friendlier brand to the mass of patients with T2D who were our opportunity… and to the primary care doctors who had not adopted Rezulin and now had a choice.

The creative solution was a friendly brand; it depicted the many organs affected by type 2 diabetes, including the Hungry Muscle, the Burned-Out Pancreas, the Upset Stomach, and many others. The headline said it all: “Group Support by Actos.” The decision to be friendly was broad-reaching: from whimsically drawn anthropomorphic organs, to the conscious decision to make the logo use a lower case “a” in “actos.” Firmly entrenched in the age of physician tchotchkes, Takeda and Lilly created and disseminated organ “Beanie Babies” and gummy candies. Reps and doctors alike loved the friendliness of the campaign, making it easy to embrace Actos.

Physician reaction was speedy and positive. Within a year, the GSK lead from Avandia was wiped out among endocrinologists, and the prescription lead overall was achieved within 3. The campaign was used by all but one Takeda affiliate worldwide, and was used universally by US and global marketing partner Eli Lilly.
Any awards and honors received: One Rx Club aware, three In-Awe awards, and one Aurora Awards