Phil, and his friends named Phil, help AstraZeneca explain eosinophilic asthma

AsthmaBehavingBadly.com uses cartoons to explain the severe form of the disease.

The unbranded campaign uses the 'Phils' to explain a type of white blood cells.

NEW YORK: Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has launched a website that provides information on eosinophilic asthma, a severe form of the disease. 

The site, AsthmaBehavingBadly.com, features cartoon depictions of a type of white blood cell that can cause inflammation and a questionnaire for people to assess how asthma is affecting them.

“When people living with severe uncontrolled asthma describe their disease, they often say, ‘My asthma is acting up,’” said Matt Gray, executive director of marketing for Fasenra, an AstraZeneca drug used to treat asthma, via email. “It is this sentiment we aim to capture with asthma behaving badly and visually depict how asthma symptoms can disrupt a patient’s life.”

AstraZeneca, which is headquartered in the U.K., produced the campaign with New York-based agency holding company Interpublic Group. The company also worked on the campaign with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, the Allergy & Asthma Network and the American Lung Association, Gray said. The drugmaker also collaborated with multicultural business resource groups “to ensure campaign messaging and creative [assets] resonated with a diverse patient population,” he added.

The homepage for the site features “Phil” and his group of friends by the same name representing eosinophils, which are a type of white blood cells, according to the Mayo Clinic. High levels of such cells are correlated with severe asthma symptoms. The website illustration shows the Phils wreaking havoc at a picnic as a woman watches in dismay. 

“The ‘Phils’ interrupt the daily lives of patients with eosinophilic asthma, but they also shed light on what patients can do to take action, including talking to their doctor about their eosinophil number and their asthma management plan,” Gray said.

Fasenra produced $1.3 billion in sales in 2021, a 33% increase over the previous year, according to Reuters. The company also has other asthma treatments in its pipeline

Asked how much of the campaign is focused on promoting Fasenra, Gray said that the unbranded campaign aimed to “improve the lives of people with severe uncontrolled asthma.” 

When we began planning for this campaign, we found many people living with asthma have limited and inaccurate perceptions of asthma control, severity and even the different types of asthma,” he said. “The campaign is meant to help patients understand levels of asthma control, recognize their symptoms and learn about the different types of asthma, specifically eosinophilic asthma.”


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