Amgen’s #DearAsthma sponsored tweet lands big on game day, sparking thousands to respond
Amgen wanted to know how people with asthma really felt about daily life with the disease. So it bought a promoted tweet on Twitter noting the not-so-simple realities of life with asthma and ended the post with a #DearAsthma hashtag, a megaphone emoji and a re-tweet button.
That was just over one week ago and the responses haven’t stopped. More than 7,000 posts so far on Twitter replied to #DearAsthma to detail struggles of daily life, expressing humor, frustration and sometimes anger. More than a few f-bombs have been typed or gif-ed in reply to communicate just how much many people “hate” the disease.
One person lined up their inhaler “collection,” while another showed off a tattoo depicting an inhaler with a ribbon around it that reads: “It ain’t easy bein’ wheezy.” Another replied to the hashtag: “Finally a trend for me! Had some pretty bad asthma attacks this week to the point where I couldn’t even laugh.”
— Sala (@JSalsa412) January 16, 2022
An ER doctor even responded with a tweet-stream detailing how he and his team saved a young man during a severe asthma attack in a step-by-step series of moves that another physician could follow.
The 7,000 tweets responding to that single promoted tweet came from 5,000 unique accounts and added to a whopping social media total of 90 million impressions for the #DearAsthma campaign running on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, Kate Tansey Chevlen, executive director in marketing at Amgen, said.
The January 16th sponsored tweet placement was purposeful. Last Sunday was a big wild-card NFL playoff game day, and Amgen hoped that the likely high traffic levels all day might help spur engagement with fans logging in to check scores and game highlights.
“Asthma is a well known disease but it has a serious impact on people’s lives that’s often under-appreciated,” Chevlen said. “We really wanted to shine a spotlight on the experience that people got through day in and day out.”
The game-day #DearAsthma tweet is just one part of the broader campaign that launched in December meant to recognize those daily realities of living with asthma. The social media work uses bright purple and yellow illustration and animation video posts to create an approachable style, Chevlen said, with additional creative executions in the series set to launch next month.
Along with venting about daily breathing struggles – and coughing spells mistaken for Covid-19 infection – some re-tweeters also complained about the high cost of medicines. One noted, “Only in the USA I have to pay to breathe.”
“We understand the frustration that people living with asthma may feel when it comes to all aspects of their disease including asthma-related healthcare costs,” Chevlen said, adding the pharma would encourage patients to talk to their asthma doctor about possible solutions. She and Amgen marketing team members are currently “combing through” the many comments for insights and better understanding of asthma patients.
#DearAsthma is part of Amgen’s broader awareness push in asthma called “Break the Cycle.” On its campaign website, celebrity spokesperson – E! channel host Nina Parker – who also has asthma, details her personal story along with other real patients about misinformation and even embarrassment around having asthma. The site asks people to consider if their asthma may be uncontrolled and, along with education resources, includes a link for a free asthma tracker that attaches to an inhaler and counts puffs used.
While the #DearAsthma campaign is unbranded, Amgen and partner AstraZeneca recently got FDA approval for Tezspire to treat uncontrolled asthma. The medicine, which targets thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), is a first-in-class that nabbed a broad indication for severe asthma patients regardless of eosinophilic or allergic phenotype, which may help Tezspire gain traction in a crowded severe asthma field.
GlaxoSmithKline’s Nucala and AstraZeneca’s Fasenra are both approved to treat eosinophilic asthma, while Sanofi and Regeneron’s Dupixent is indicated for eosinophilic or oral corticosteroid dependent asthma.
Amgen’s Susan Sweeney, senior vice president of global marketing, access and capabilities, told Endpoints News in a recent interview that she expects Tezspire will go to market highlighting its broad applicability regardless of eosinophilic status, but added she expects at least initially, more interest from patients with low eosinophil counts.