Xpectives News

DTC in Perspective: Dry Eye DTC Battle Begins

September 2, 2016 by Bob Ehrlich0

Restasis, the dry eye drug from Allergan will soon see major competition. Shire’s drug Xiidra was recently approved and now widely available. Their unbranded DTC campaign just began with A list star Jennifer Aniston as its spokesperson. This huge market of 16 million sufferers will now have two brands battling it out on the DTC front.

Bob Ehrlich
“Enlisting Jennifer Aniston is a big get.”
-Bob Ehrlich

Analysts say Xiidra has potential to be a billion dollar drug. Restasis has sales of around one billion so this should be a category with significant branded DTC presence. Restasis spent over $16 million in 1Q this year and they should be investing heavily to defend against Xiidra in 4Q.

Shire enlisting Jennifer Aniston is a big get. Getting a movie star to promote the dry eye condition must have cost Shire a lot in talent fees. Obviously they think she is worth it. Her ad just went on air under the “myeyelove” title. They have a website myeyelove.com which tells her story of dry eye and has the commercial currently airing. The site has the usual education component with symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment options.

Jennifer Aniston is getting lots of commercial endorsements these days. She is touting skin care brand Aveeno and plugging the comforts of Emirate Airways. I am sure Shire considered whether we at a Jennifer saturation point. My feeling is we can take a couple more campaigns before she gets overused.

The commercial is very well executed with Jennifer telling her story of how dry eye interfered with her life. The 60 second spot uses the Beatle’s song “All You Need Is Love” the classic Lennon-McCartney song recorded in 1967 as background. I do not know if Jennifer will do any branded DTC, and my guess is no. Having her remain non-branded is probably a better use of her celebrity. She can tell a friendly story advising sufferers to consult their eye doctors without needing to deal with fair balance.
I expect a heavy branded component to appear late this year or early next year. Just doing non-branded ads will help Restasis as well, so expect Xiidra to tout its efficacy profile versus Restasis. The Jennifer campaign will help get attention to the launch from both providers and patients. Long term, however, this will be a brand to brand fight and likely a boon to DTC media sellers who love a multi brand battle.

Bob Ehrlich

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