This is an excerpt from a campaign profile by Matthew Arnold, in Medical Marketing & Media.
As the first new product for gout on the market in four decades, the Uloric team had some work to do in educating patients about how the disease works and available treatments.
“Our campaign was really focused on targeting patients who were on treatment but were still experiencing flares,” says Heidi Gillmore, marketing director for Uloric. “There was a big awareness gap because of the fact that there's been no new innovation in the category for decades, and therefore no promotion happening. There was really a lack of credible resources on the Internet.”
While the disease is most often treated by primary care physicians, the market for gout drugs is a niche one, with around eight million adults diagnosed in the US, and just short of three million treated chronically.
Because there's a lot of co-morbidity, the topic often fails to come up during doctor visits, as more immediate health concerns predominate. Around half of those on treatment are still experiencing flares, according to Takeda's research, which also found poor patient understanding of the role of hyperuricemia, the underlying metabolic condition treated by Uloric, in gout.
“So that fed into our strategy behind doing a really broad-based, multichannel, branded and unbranded campaign to both educate on the disease state and introduce the brand as an option to these patients,” says Gillmore.
Takeda took a two-pronged approach:
- Unbranded ads that featured a real doctor talking about the role that uric acid plays in gout along with the tagline “Gout can attack silently even between flares.”
- Branded ads feature patients lugging around a large flask of liquid that serves as a metaphor for uric acid reduction.
Both efforts drive viewers to goutinfo.com. The brand is now moving to put more emphasis on relationship marketing.
“Now that we've built this awareness level, we're really trying to drive more dialogue between patients and physicians,” says Gillmore. “So we're starting to step away from the awareness-building vehicles like the TV ads and center more on the action vehicles—online and in-office media.”
Gout is one of the most-searched conditions, says Gillmore, and Takeda research has shown that four out of five patients searching for gout info online are currently suffering a gout attack.
“They're having pain and they're trying to seek out solutions at that time, so we really try and leverage that as much as possible, because that was something we identified at our launch that, because of the lack of innovation in the category, there was a lack of credible resources on the Internet for patients to turn to. So you search on ‘gout' and you're getting a lot of home remedies and those types of things.”
Takeda's Gout.com is the destination for its unbranded efforts, while its Gout Smart program offers interactive discussion guides and other features aimed at getting patients into treatment.