More than Smoking at Stake

Jun 01, 2011

Al Topin, President | Al Topin Associates
NicVAX could be about much more than helping people kick a nasty habit. It well might be an opportunity to take on one of the most significant global healthcare problems we have today. As the first in market, it's the brand's chance to grab a market leadership position.

Which is why it makes sense to market NicVAX as a solution to a problem much larger than smoking. NicVAX can take its cue from the public health nature of vaccines—it can be the product that reverses the epidemic of smoking-related disease. So it becomes not just about the habits of an individual, but about the health of society at large.

For smokers, it could be the first step toward a healthier lifestyle. For parents, it could be a weapon that stops normal teen temptation from becoming a lifelong habit. Other beneficiaries as well include—payers that can see savings in terms of the costs of treating cancer, heart disease, and so on. Employers who pay for health benefits could see premium reductions as smoking-related diseases go down.

So how might NicVAX pull it off?
  • Make sure it's reimbursed, especially since it requires repeated vaccinations. Position it to payers as a strategy to reduce future costs—and get HEOR data going as soon as possible to build barriers to competition.
  • Make the launch campaign feel more like a public service than advertising. Gardasil's 'Just One Less" campaign did this pretty well. Less advertising, more PR and social media efforts.
  • Partner with other stakeholders in the battle against smoking, such as schools, corporations, and advocacy groups.
  • Surround NicVAX with a complete program of support.

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