GlaxoSmithKline revives Bexsero's meningitis B moms in renewed back-to-college TV push

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Even if meningitis B is rare, that’s not a chance we’re willing to take.

August 31, 2018
Fierce Pharma

SUMMARY

GlaxoSmithKline is bringing its mom squad back to primetime.

The “Moms Against Meningitis B” spot, a promo for GSK's vaccine Bexsero, is back on TV this month just in time for back-to-college, albeit a bit later than last year's push. The commercial first ran last June through September.

The ad shows mothers in typical college scenes with their college student kids—packing boxes, moving into dorm rooms—as they talk about the disease. One says, “Even if meningitis B is rare, that’s not a chance we’re willing to take.”

It's a statement that encapsulates the difficulty of marketing the men B vaccine, a relatively new product that not only competes head-to-head with a Pfizer shot, but whose sales require building a brand-new market from scratch. And this in a viral strain that can be fatal, but crops up at a rate so small that some experts think a vaccination is simply overkill.

Awareness is a big part of the strategy. The Bexsero branded advertising works in conjunction with GSK’s unbranded meningitis B campaign. That effort's latest push began in May, with animation ads designed to both grab viewers' attention and offer a counterbalance to the serious and potentially scary consequences of meningitis B, GSK told FiercePharma in June. TV spending to date is $24 million, according to data from real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv. with the campaign still running on TV, and also in print, digital, in-office and social media.

The marketing the MenB vaccine has been twofold: Emphasizing that it's a shot separate from the old-and-familiar pan-meningococcal vaccine and convincing parents to seek it out even though it's recommended, not required. The older meningococcal vaccine, which protects against A,C,W, and Y strains, is mandatory at most colleges.

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Emma Harrison