Shire educates adults on ADHD

Shire asked Porter Novelli, AOR for its ADHD business, to create an unbranded PSA effort to educate consumers about adult ADHD.

Shire asked Porter Novelli, AOR for its ADHD business, to create an unbranded PSA effort to educate consumers about adult ADHD.

“Pediatric ADHD has been well understood for some time,” says Tom Curatolo, marketing director for ADHD at Shire. “Adult ADHD isn't so well understood.”

PN and a coalition of groups dedicated to ADHD education developed “Adult ADHD is Real” and its Web site ( to help adults understand the treatable medical disorder and seek treatment.

“With a PSA, you need a coalition of partners... that are important to the care of patients,” Curatolo explains. “These organizations are... reaching patients on a regular basis.”

The coalition includes the ADHD Coaches Organization, Attention Deficit Disorder Association, and Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Shire has long-standing relationships with all three groups, which provided input regarding messaging and spokesperson selection. The team chose Howie Mandel, who has ADHD and hosts Deal or No Deal, as its celebrity spokesperson. It chose Lenard Adler of New York University as its physician spokesperson.

A main goal was to drive traffic to the Web site, which includes resources to help choose a health care professional and links to the PSAs and coalition groups. The site also has a questionnaire/screener to help identify signs and symptoms of ADHD. Sherry Goldberg, SVP of healthcare at PN, says the tool has been a “driving force” of the effort.

Mandel and Adler embarked on an SMT, RMT, and ANR. In addition, the team pitched media a “behind-the-scenes” look at the PSA development and campaign launch. Goldberg says the angle provided a unique story for national outlets.

PN landed Mandel a co-host appearance on Live with Regis and Kelly, where he discussed his ADHD and the new Web site. Goldberg says the opportunity came through a combination of timing, subject matter, and connections. “We didn't talk about [a product or] treatment,” she adds. “It was educational, which helped.”

The Web site has attracted nearly 62,000 visits and the questionnaire has drawn nearly 33,000 views. Media impressions total more than 326 million, with the PSAs accounting for nearly 149 million. PN reports that these numbers can be attributed solely to PR, as there were no supporting media buys.

“The campaign has been very successful from our perspective,” Curatolo says. “We're thrilled with the range of [patient] materials available and [the PSA] execution. We have tens of thousands of people on the Web site and 62 broadcast hours. Volume around this has been exciting... and we're only part of the way through.”

The PSAs will run through September 2009. Shire and PN will continue to work together.

“[Mandel]... will continue to get the word out,” Curatolo says. “We're evaluating if there's opportunity to expand the relationship.”

PRWeek View
ADHD is an important category for Shire – it has dominated the market with Adderall XR, which faces generic competition this month. Transitioning adult ADHD patients to Vyvanse (launched in 2007) has proven important, and the adult market has been an expected growth driver.

This unbranded campaign follows previous branded efforts around adult ADHD. The team has done a fantastic job addressing education and driving media coverage. This campaign should help Shire continue to build inroads into the adult ADHD market.

PR team: Shire (Wayne, PA) and Porter Novelli (New York)

Campaign: Adult ADHD Is Real PSA Campaign

Duration: October 2008-ongoing

Budget: About $500,000

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in