Endo taps bent veggie in first Xiaflex brand campaign for Peyronie's disease curved erection condition
Endo’s last trip to the grocery store enlisted a variety of produce to raise awareness about curved erections in Peyronie’s disease. Now in its first branded campaign for Xiaflex, Endo settles on just one vegetable — a carrot.
The bright orange visual is meant to be simple and striking, continuing to remind men they’re not alone, but also dodging strident network censors and introducing the brand name for the first time, Endo’s executive director of men’s health marketing Justin Mattice said.
“Taste and tone is absolutely critical,” he said. “We’re talking about a condition that is a curved penis. It needs to be factualized, medical and it can’t be funny. And it needs to be appropriate for TV — an extremely difficult task.”
Endo laid the groundwork for the Xiaflex ad with its 2019 unbranded “Learn about PD” campaign series of ads using crooked produce to convey its message. Men looked at bent cucumbers, bananas and peppers, while a voiceover noted that “guys come in all shapes and sizes.” The narrator goes on to suggest a painful or new bump may be a reason to talk to a doctor.
Endo’s Peyronie’s disease awareness ads date back to 2017, with efforts to destigmatize and open up conversations. Mattice likened the work to Pfizer’s Viagra and Eli Lilly’s Cialis marketing that changed the “dark and scary” term “impotence” into the more friendly medical term “erectile dysfunction” or just ED. Endo wants to change Peyronie’s disease unfamiliarity and potential fear to easier-to-understand erectile curvature or simply a lump, bump or curve, Mattice said.
Just as men launched into “door knob conversations” with doctors at the end of annual physicals to bring up ED, Endo wants men to mention the curved carrot they saw on TV if that’s an issue for them.
“All they have to say now is ‘Doc, I saw an ad on TV with a curved carrot and I believe I have that’ and instantly, from what we’ve learned, whether a treating physician or not, they’ll know what they mean,” Mattice said.
Endo’s end goal? Shorten the current typical time to diagnosis now at 1 1/2 to four years. By driving people directly to the Xiaflex website — with the vanity URL BentCarrrot.com — potential patients and interested physicians can get more detailed information including a database of the specialty urologists trained to administer Xiaflex injections.
While Endo eschews humor in its ads, Mattice admitted the pharma doesn’t have much control over organic mentions that have happened in media including “The Howard Stern Show” and on “Saturday Night Live.”
It does validate Endo’s awareness work though. On SNL’s most recent show, in fact, guest host Jason Sudeikis spoofs daytime TV show Ellen as “Mellen,” a man’s man talk show skewering toxic masculinity. It ends noting it is “Sponsored by Peyronies (sic) disease — not the treatment, the actual disease.”
Along with Peyronie’s disease, Endo’s Xiaflex is approved to treat Dupuytren’s contracture, a condition that causes a person’s fingers to involuntary bend inward. Endo began awareness ads for that condition in 2017, and in 2019 tapped celebrity spokesperson, and patient, former Denver Bronco star quarterback John Elway to draw broader attention.
Xiaflex was first approved in 2013, but sales have risen steadily during the awareness ad years. More recently, revenues re-accelerated as physician office visits resumed. Six-month sales for 2021 reached $207 million, up 68% over $123 million for the same period in 2020.
Last year, Endo bought the remaining shares of BioSpecifics Technologies in a $540 million deal, giving the pharma full ownership of Xiaflex along with the more recently FDA-greenlit treatment Qwo, the first injectable approved to treat cellulite in women.