A Better Bladder DTC Campaign Astellas’s Animated Pitch Organ for OABPharmaguy interviews Walt Johnston, Vice President of US Marketing and New Product Planning at Astellas. We discuss a new pharmaceutical advertising campaign from Astellas that features an untreated bladder character “calling the shots” by interrupting a woman as she goes about her daily activities and urges her to go to the bathroom.

Aired LIVE on: Wednesday, April 9, 2014

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Myrbetriq AdA new pharmaceutical advertising campaign from Astellas capitalizes on the trend of using animated characters to provide education and awareness on health conditions, symptoms and solutions in an engaging and memorable way.

Astellas Pharma US has been at the forefront of this trend since 2005 with the development of the award-winning “Pipe People” as part of a multi-year marketing campaign for overactive bladder (OAB) drug VESIcare® (solifenacin succinate) and recently introduced a “Bladder Character” as part of a new national television advertising and marketing campaign for Myrbetriq® (mirabegron).

National advertisements feature an untreated bladder character “calling the shots” by interrupting a woman as she goes about her daily activities and urges her to go to the bathroom. Talking with a doctor and seeking prescription medication Myrbetriq to treat symptoms of OAB is presented as the solution.

The advertisements are one component of a broader marketing effort focused on raising awareness of the importance of women’s health, particularly OAB, and speaking with a health care professional about conditions that are difficult or not often discussed.

Questions/Topics of Discussion

  • Tell us a little bit about Astellas and your overactive bladder product, Myrbetriq
  • Why did Astellas choose to use an animated character in its new commercials for Myrbetriq?
  • Your VESIcare campaign also uses animated characters. Do you consider it successful and is that why Astellas used the same approach for Myrbetriq?
  • Who is the bladder character, and what does it represent? Have you tested the character with target audiences? What have they said about it? What have doctors said?
  • Why did Astellas decide to target women in this campaign? What else is Astellas doing to raise awareness of OAB?

Guest Bio

Walt JohnstonWalt Johnston is Vice President, US Marketing and Strategic New Product Planning for Astellas Pharma US, Inc., a global research-based pharmaceutical company committed to serving unmet medical needs in Oncology, Immunology, Infectious Diseases, Urology, Neuroscience and DM Complications and Kidney Diseases.

Walt leads all marketing activities and programs across several therapeutic areas of the Astellas US business to ensure superior commercial performance. Walt has primary responsibility for Urology, Transplant, Cardiovascular and Anti-Infective markets. Walt has over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. He is a member of the Astellas Portfolio Strategic Executive Committee.

Prior to joining Astellas in 2008, he held increasingly more senior positions in marketing and sales with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in New York. He started his career at Pfizer in 1990 as a sales representative and moved through positions of increasing responsibility until promoted to Senior Director, Group Leader CV Marketing in 2006. In this position, he led the largest portfolio of products in Pfizer.

Mr. Johnston earned his M.B.A. at Boston College and his undergraduate degree at Lafayette College.