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Putting Menopause Medication on the Main Stage


In this Pharmaceutical Executive interview, Jill Jaroch, Senior Director, Women’s Health & Urology Marketing at Astellas, discusses the decision to continue VEOZAH's presence during the big game, the inspiration and message behind the commercial, and if Taylor Swift played a factor in their decision making

What factors influenced the decision to advertise during the Super Bowl? Did Taylor Swift's relationship with Travis Kelce play any role in the decision?

Well, as you know, we debuted at the Super Bowl last year, Astellas had its first ever Super Bowl commercial last year. And after the positive feedback that we received, particularly from women, we were thrilled to be back at the Super Bowl this year. Super Bowl 58 had 120 million viewers this year, about half of which were women. So, what we know is that the number of women involved in the football community continues to increase so from coaches to employees to fans, and as a result, the topic of women's midlife health is actually more relevant to the football community than ever before, which makes the Super Bowl a tremendous platform to educate about vasomotor symptoms due to menopause, which is hot flashes and night sweats, but also visa and to spark unnecessary conversation.

So, our hope really was that viewers walked away with a greater awareness of moderate to severe hot flashes due to menopause, as well as visa because ultimately, we want women to feel acknowledged, validated, empowered to talk openly about their experiences, and have more informed discussions with their health care providers about VMFS and about whether VEOZAH is right for them. But to answer your question about Taylor Swift her relationship did not play a role in our decision to be at the Superbowl.

Running a menopause ad during the Super Bowl, a time known for commercials like "Puppy Monkey Baby," was an unexpected choice. When was the decision to book the advertising space made?

Since October, our TV viewers have seen a VEOZAH ad that has been aired during other sporting events. So, it wasn't just the Super Bowl that we were focused on. But having a new cut at the Super Bowl was a natural part of our strategy to reach our audiences where they are during key cultural moments that that we know they're tuning in for. In addition to the Super Bowl, things like the Oscars, Bravo con, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, again, at Astellas, we just want women to feel heard and their unique needs validated, which is why we're continuing to try to elevate this conversation on the national stage and you can't get more national than the Super Bowl.

Let’s talk about the commercial itself. Can you tell us about the inspiration and message behind the creation of the commercial?

The inspiration behind the concept of fewer hot flashes more not flashes was really a core tension that we discovered through expansive qualitative market research and social listening, which revealed that many women believe that nothing can be done about their BMS, which results in them being resigned to really grin and bear it. This is not surprising since menopause is a time in a woman's health journey that has historically been overlooked. But what we mean by fewer hot flashes more not flashes is that when women with VMS are having are not having a hot flash. That's a not flash. So, our Superbowl ad showcased relatable hot flashes, night sweat moments that may impact women in midlife. For example, one scene shows a woman sticking her head in the freezer to cool down, which really goes to show the lengths some women may go to find relief. But the ad encourages women to speak up and seek appropriate treatment options with their health care providers and emphasizes that fewer interruptions from moderate to severe VMS due to menopause can be possible.

The commercial features diverse representation in terms of age, ethnicity, situations, and daily activities. Can you elaborate on the creative decisions to communicate inclusivity and the importance of this message?

The campaign is designed to reach a diverse group of women in the US impacted by moderate to severe hot flashes and night sweats, who are looking for a non-hormonal prescription treatment option. So, what we know is that in the US, nearly half of women going through menopause may experience moderate to severe VMS. But what we also know is that black and Hispanic women often experience VMS earlier and longer than their Caucasian and Asian counterparts. So, we recognized early on the importance of representing diverse women experiencing hot flashes and that flashes to really reinforce the capability the strength and power within each woman to seek appropriate treatment options.

Are there plans for future VEOZAH ads during events like the World Series? How do you anticipate your Super Bowl ad influencing the marketing strategies of other women's health products?

so first, we would welcome others to follow our lead, right? But again, what we know is that half of the Superbowl audience is women. So, we are really just trying to reach our target audience where they are. And during these key cultural moments, the first ad that we had did launch back in October, and it has been airing across all big three networks in the US cable networks like Bravo HGTV, CNN during primetime Morning News, evening news and during big TV and sports moments. Additionally, we're on multiple streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. And as I mentioned, during key cultural moments, which of course includes sports, things like the World Series, and the Super Bowl that we know our audience is tuning in for. So, the new cut, again aired for the first time at this year's Super Bowl, but it will continue airing throughout the summer across these platforms, and during the major cultural moments, which of course will include sports.

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