Charlie Kimball, the Indy racecar driver spokesperson for Novo Nordisk’s NovoLog Flexpen, which is used to treat Type 1 diabetes, made his debut as star of his first direct-to-consumer (DTC) TV ad. Not only does the ad feature Novo’s product, it also promotes Kimball’s Indy team Chip Ganassi Racing. A win-win!

I saw the commercial on the CBS evening News last night. Kimball did a great job.

I couldn’t find a version of the commercial on the Internet, but I DID find a video titled “Charlie Kimball and Novo Nordisk” in which Kimball discusses how the commercial was made. One thing that the video demonstrates is why pharma spends so much money on broadcast (ie, TV) DTC. It’s not just the loads of money spent on buying airtime on the major networks. It is also the cost of producing the commercial itself. This is what Kimball discusses in the video (embedded below).

Kimball is amazed by all the people involved such as director, assistant director, key grip, not to mention the production crew’s four trucks, two motor homes, and catering trailer. All together, 50 people were involved said Kimball.

In the past, Kimball had only been tweeting (see, for example, “Novo Nordisk’s Branded (Levemir) Tweet is Sleazy Twitter Spam!” – the #3 Google search result for “sleazy tweet”!) and making personal appearances, which is more of a PR effort than a marketing effort. My guess is that PR costs much less than marketing and employs fewer people compared to marketing’s BIG item productions such as TV ads.

So, thank you Charlie and Novo Nordisk for helping America solve it’s unemployment problem!