Cute Dinosaur Helps Sell Asthma Med


AstraZeneca has launched campaigns for two prescription asthma medications: AirSupra and Fasenra.


Standard rescue inhaler albuterol is compared to a dinosaur -- who however cute he is, still symbolizes a creature who’s becoming extinct. Dino hangs out with a patient who will eventually learn to use AirSupra, the only FDA-approved asthma rescue inhaler that treats both symptoms and inflammation.

AirSupra treats symptoms by including…yes…albuterol, in combination with anti-inflammatory budesonide, once an AstraZeneca powerhouse in its Pulmicort-branded long-term therapy inhaler.

The aim of the first campaign for the product, created by VML, is to “empower patients to replace their albuterol-only educating on the unmet need, and increasing awareness of AirSupra and its efficacy,” Nicole Skiljo, executive director, U.S. marketing, AstraZeneca, tells Marketing Daily.



The campaign, titled “Modern Age,” featuring a dinosaur named Walter, and running through year’s end, includes a 60-second commercial on broadcast and cable channels across all major dayparts, with an emphasis on morning and prime time, as well as on streaming services like Peacock and Paramount+.

Other campaign elements include digital display, digital out-of-home, audio, social, and ads in healthcare offices.

Skiljo says this multichannel approach, via media agency Healix Global, should hopefully reach over 90% of the approximately 21 million asthma patients in the U.S.

“Modern Age” comes on the heels of AstraZeneca’s still-ongoing “2 Sides 2 Asthma” unbranded educational campaign, also from VML, which launched in mid-2023 to generate awareness of the role of inflammation in asthma and how traditional rescue inhalers don’t treat that aspect.

In 2023 alone, Skiljo says, “2 Sides 2 Asthma” met its goal of reaching over 3 million American asthmatics.

“Rescue Rescue,” a similar educational push but to healthcare providers (HCPs) ended with the commercial launch of AirSupra this January -- but Skiljo says it had achieved its goals. The campaign reached more than 141,000 HCPs through website, print and digital activations, he reveals, and generated over 810,000 site visits in eight months, “successfully educating primary care and specialists that rising inflammation is the underlying cause of exacerbations in all severities of asthma.”

Together, Skiljo says, the campaigns “helped reframe the way physicians and patients think about asthma rescue."


While AirSupra targets the broad asthma audience, AstraZeneca’s six-year-old Fasenra has a narrower scope – the up-to-1.75 million Americans with severe eosinophilic asthma, a condition caused by high levels of white blood cells called eosinophils in their respiratory systems.

Fasenra’s new “Stepping Back Out” campaign, from McCann Health and IPG, features a one-minute spot on broadcast channels, cable channels, digital and streaming services, with content also running on social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok) and a printed format in healthcare provider offices. 

Like last year’s “Move Forward with Fasenra” campaign from FCBCure and McCann, the goal of “Stepping Back Out” is to raise awareness of both eosinophilic asthma and Fasenra.

Similar to that earlier campaign asking viewers to “remember the things you loved doing before your asthma got in the way” as a woman takes a motorcycle out for a ride, the new spot says “Get back to what you missed” as it shows people returning to such “day-to-day activities“ as “epic hikes with friends,” playing basketball and again riding motorbikes.

The “Move Forward” campaign garnered a 10% increase in awareness of eosinophilic asthma and 5% increase in awareness of Fasenra among severe asthma patients, Matt Gray, AstraZeneca’s executive business director of marketing for Fasenra, tells Marketing Daily.

“The intent of the ‘Stepping Back Out’ campaign is to mark the next step in AstraZeneca's promise to help patients with severe eosinophilic asthma by highlighting the potential benefits Fasenra can have,” Gray remarks. “The campaign notably emphasizes FASENRA's dosing schedule as the only asthma biologic maintenance treatment taken once every four weeks for the first three doses, followed by once every eight weeks after.”

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