Novo Nordisk has re-started promotion of its weight-loss drug Wegovy (semaglutide) with a new TV advertisement after halting promotional materials for the drug last May.
The promotional pause was made to manage the high demand for the weight loss injection. The demand was so overwhelming that the Danish drugmaker decided to stop advertising Wegovy “to avoid stimulating further demand.” The demand for the GLP-1 agonist has largely been fuelled by social media and celebrity endorsements.
However, Novo is now ready to take on the demand with its new Wegovy TV commercial titled “Change is Never Easy.” The TV ad is part of the company’s larger campaign for Wegovy called “Believe On.”
The commercial is a shift in the company’s advertising approach as it focuses more on the personal impact of weight loss on people’s lives rather than highlighting the drug’s benefits.
Novo CEO Lars Jørgensen expressed confidence in meeting the demands for Wegovy in 2024, citing a scale-up in manufacturing and additional capacity. This strategic shift in marketing, combined with increased production capabilities, positions Wegovy to continue its significant impact in the obesity treatment market.
Speaking at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference last week, Jørgensen said the market is “moving a bit out of the hype” phase and towards a more “steady, robust demand.” The shift comes as a sigh of relief for Novo as Jørgensen said the hype “was not easy for us to actually control… or even be involved in it.”
The new Wegovy TV commercial begins with a woman walking through a park and continues with various scenes, including a man playing basketball and a woman on stage, accompanied by a voiceover explaining that change is never easy and that there will be “doubters and naysayers.” Despite the challenges, it emphasizes believing in yourself to achieve the things you want to, including losing weight.
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The ad shows people enjoying various daily activities, ranging from an exercise class to learning to ride a bike and a man being fitted for a new suit. The voiceover highlights the importance of believing in oneself and the transformative journey of weight loss.
The ad ends saying to “keep on believing” because “it’s not just about the weight you lose, it’s about everything.” The end screen calls on viewers to visit BelieveOn.com, a website designed to promote Wegovy.
Novo’s new advertisement strategy for Wegovy comes at a time when the market for weight loss drugs is evolving and rapidly expanding. Novo aims to balance the supply and demand for Wegovy, especially in light of new competition from rival weight-loss medications like Eli Lilly’s Zepbound (tirzepatide).
According to J.P. Morgan, Novo’s obesity drugs have the potential to be a “33 billion opportunity” by 2030 and could grab almost half of the expanding global obesity drug market. It also predicts that the overall GLP-1 market, driven by equal usage of the drugs for diabetes and obesity, will soar beyond $100 billion by 2030.
At the J.P. Morgan conference, Jørgensen also said he expects patients would be taking Wegovy for far longer than those using older treatments.
“We know from all medical interventions, stay time is not like 100 percent… but I think we will see a significantly higher stay time than what we have seen so far on obesity treatment,” he said.
He said the effects patients see after being on Wegovy would be an incentive for them to continue, although it may be “too early to tell.”
According to an analysis of medical records and insurance claims data released in December, 40 percent of patients who obtained Wegovy in 2021 or 2022 continued its usage one year later, which is more than three times the adherence rate of older weight loss medications.