Eli Lilly's Oscar-Night Ad Fights Cosmetic Use Of Obesity Drugs

With one ad, Eli Lilly will provide an interesting counterbalance to Oscar hoopla Sunday night.

During E!’s pre-Oscar red carpet show, Lilly will run “Big Night,” a :30 spot crusading against off-label use of anti-obesity meds for cosmetic use. Such use has become “part of the cultural dialogue at recent high-profile awards ceremonies,” a Lilly spokesperson tells Marketing Daily.

As visuals show a red carpet being rolled out and paparazzi snapping away, a voiceover declares that “some people have been using medicine never meant for them -- for the smaller dress or tux. For a big night. For vanity. But that’s not the point. People whose health is affected by obesity are the reason we work on these medications. It matters who gets them.”



The latter sentence alludes to shortages caused by high demand that have been a continuing problem for weight-loss drugs, including competitor Novo Nordisk, which markets Ozempic and Wegovy.

The spot’s visuals end by switching from Hollywood glamour to an obese woman on a subway train.

Another obese woman stars in a second Lilly ad, “Shame,” that will air during ABC’s Oscar telecast itself. This one’s a :60 black-and-white spot that Lilly says is geared to counter stigma and negative biases about obesity.

“Shame. It showed up when I was young. And stayed like a shadow. Living in glances of people I loved…and ones I didn’t even know. Always reminding me of my body’s supposed value,” says a female voiceover, meant to evoke the woman shown in different activities on screen. “But what good is shame when it comes to health? Health is not about what weight we lose. It’s about all the things a body can gain.”

The spot ends with on-screen graphics reading “Obesity is a matter of health. Shame has no place in it.”

The two new spots continue Lilly’s high-visibility corporate campaign under the “Get Better” banner, which launched during the AFC Championship Game in January with an eponymous “Get Better” spot (“You’ll get better when you’re not blamed for a condition you can’t control”). The campaign continued in February with an Alzheimer’s-focused “Don’t Forget” spot (“People with Alzheimer’s take notes to remember. 30 years of research hasn’t forgotten them”) which premiered right after the Super Bowl. Lilly says it was seen by 6.25 million people.

“Get Better is a corporate advertising campaign that is intended to share more about who we are,” says the Lilly spokesperson.

All the Get Better ads conclude with the company’s three-year-old tagline, “Lilly. A Medicine Company.”

Lilly does not disclose names of either the creative or media agencies who work on its ads.

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