A New Face in the Anti-Wrinkle Wars

May 9, 2007
Pharmaceutical Executive

Volume 0, Issue 0

Allergan launches celebrity campaign for Botox and Juvederm.

Allergan is teaming up with actress Virginia Madsen to smooth out the wrinkles that have developed in consumer awareness of its iconic line reducer Botox and Juvederm, a dermal filler.

More people are considering cosmetic injections--about 40 percent of women and 25 percent of men, according to Allergan--and the company is trying to make sure that they're pursuing the treatments from licensed physicians. "I've challenged the notion that [Botox parties are] better for business," said Robert Grant, president of Allergan Medical, who noted that business grows through positive word of mouth. "Our greatest concern is patient outcomes and patient safety. We need to maintain our sacred trust with patients."

Madsen--who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Sideways--and her mother, Elaine Madsen, were dubbed spokeswomen because they have been particularly forthcoming about their use of Allergan's products. "We knew from our own experience that there were serious gaps in the information available to women and men about these treatments," said Virginia Madsen, who was in New York with her mom yesterday to kick off Allergan's "Keep the Wisdom, Lose the Lines" campaign. "They're prescription medicines. I think a lot of people have lost sight of that with the growing popularity of these products."

Allergan has also launched a parallel ad campaign with print ads in magazines like Vogue and TV spots during Grey's Anatomy to address other concerns women have. The company's "Freedom of Expression" campaign addresses the fear that Botox can lead to a "frozen" facial expression. Juvederm is being promoted with the tagline "Parentheses have a place, just not on your face," to address the fact that Botox treats lines in the upper third of the face, while Juvederm fills wrinkles and folds in the lower two-thirds. Ad agency Grey Healthcare created the spots.

The effort follows Allergan's January acquisition of Groupe Corneal Laboratoires and its portfolio of facial aesthetic products, including worldwide rights to Juvederm.

With its market share at 19 percent, Allergan is playing catch-up with Medicis, which has captured the category through sales of its dermal fillers Restylane and Perlane. Allergan is promoting Juvederm as a gel that has a smoother consistency than the more granular Restylane.

As part of the campaign, Allergan has also released a survey of the "top 10 questions" women have about cosmetic injectables--partnering with Harris Interactive and the National Women's Health Resource Center. One finding: 80 percent of women do not know the difference between Botox, made from a botulinum toxin, and dermal fillers, which are natural or synthetic fatlike substances.

The facial aesthetic market is projected to grow 25 percent over the next year and could reach $1.5 billion in 2011, according to the Millennium Research Group. Dermal fillers, which are the third most common in-office cosmetic procedure after Botox and electronic hair removal, are valued at $480 million and growing 19 percent per year.

Grant noted that only three percent of women who can afford Botox are opting for the procedure--an estimated one million out of 27 million. "It's not just about Hollywood--it's about Peoria, and that's what we're trying to penetrate into now," Grant said. Botox had total sales of $982.2 million last year, an 18 percent increase over 2005. Botox Cosmetic represents 48 percent of sales.