Novo Nordisk takes inspiration from three popular television genres – medical drama, ’90s sitcom and procedural crime show – by bringing in actress Queen Latifah in a new awareness campaign for the video series that aims to change the mind. obesity opinion.
The first video opens with a stretcher rushing through a hospital corridor as Queen Latifah, clad in scrubs, questions a worried woman about the patient’s symptoms.
“It’s stigma,” Latifah finally announces, making the grim diagnosis. As a monitor beeps in the background, she later adds, “The only way to beat this thing is to talk about it.”
Getting people to talk openly about obesity – and to seek treatment – is one of the biggest challenges Novo faces as he prepares to conquer the largely untapped obesity market with his new drug. weight loss maker Wegovy, which received FDA approval in June.
It means moving the narrative away from “blame, shame, prejudice and stigma” and towards empathy and understanding, said Mark Materacky, vice president of consumer marketing at Novo.
“Our mission is to help people understand that obesity is a manageable health problem, not a character defect,” he explained.
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The unbranded campaign, titled “It’s Bigger Than Me,” comes as Novo ramps up obesity education and awareness efforts ahead of the planned DTC ad launch for Wegovy, which Materacky says is on track for early 2022.
Last month, the drugmaker partnered with retail pharmacy giant CVS Health on a new obesity support program for people previously prescribed weight loss medication and also launched a physician education site, Rethink Obesity, to persuade physicians to discuss obesity treatment with patients. .
On the latest TV-themed campaign, Novo worked closely with Queen Latifah to create the series of videos, which appear on YouTube, Instagram and a dedicated website. Her willingness to share her own weight issues has made her “the perfect ambassador to really inspire our audiences – and also give them something to aspire to,” Materacky said.
In a clip that mimics a ’90s sitcom, with a laugh track, Queen Latifah complains about having lunch with a friend who’s sick of diets and hunger, noting, “But it’s bigger than us. , and our DNA is part of it. “
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In the crime skit, she plays a detective who urges a witness to give up the “criminal” – apparently obesity – goods – although his name is never mentioned in any of the videos. (The company’s research found that audiences would disconnect even at the sound of the word.)
In the final segment, shot in a dressing room, Queen Latifah breaks character and speaks directly to the audience.
“I had the experience of being judged by others because of my weight. I know the negative effect this can have on you, ”she says. “But I never let that stop me, and neither should you.”
Novo is optimistic about Wegovy’s potential to disrupt the obesity market, thanks to its effectiveness over other weight loss drugs, including Novo’s Saxenda. Late-stage testing showed Wegovy, which is a high-dose version of the diabetes drug Ozempic, helped patients achieve and maintain an average weight loss of 15% over 68 weeks, compared to just 5%. average weight loss for Saxenda.
The drugmaker is hoping to more than double its obesity sales from its 2019 baseline by 2025, CFO Karsten Knudsen said on an investor appeal right after Wegovy’s approval.