How Genentech is reaching out to people with MS differently

The company is targeting millennials and Hispanic consumers with the knowledge that they think about the disease differently than older generations.

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Biotechnology company Genentech has launched a campaign promoting its multiple sclerosis drug to people with the disease.

The subsidiary of Roche launched the direct-to-consumer campaign, More Progress, Less Progression, in September in English and Spanish. The target audiences for the multiple sclerosis [MS] campaign are millennials and the Hispanic and Latinx community. 

“Those 20- to 40-years-old [people] with MS approach healthcare differently than previous generations and often prioritize ‘living their lives’ over thinking about treatment,” said Jennifer Kim, VP and head of neuroimmunology at Genentech Marketing, via email. “There’s a common misconception that MS is a white woman’s disease. However, Hispanic/Latinx and Black people tend to experience more severe symptoms and faster progression than other populations.”

The manufacturer describes the drug, Ocrevus, as a prescription infusion taken twice each year for adults with relapsing or primary progressive forms of MS.

The goal of the campaign “is to encourage people with MS to discuss early treatment of Ocrevus with their doctor in the hopes of delaying disability progression,” Kim wrote. 

An English language campaign video features four people, three of them women, talking about overcoming the disease. 

“MS is like riding into headwinds, but I keep pushing forward,” said Teri, while riding on the back of a motorcycle.

“Does MS define me? No, it does not,” said Jozi. 

To promote the Spanish campaign to the Hispanic and Latinx population, the company is planning to use television and digital channels including YouTube and Spotify.

“We learned that the Hispanic/Latinx community is much more active on online channels and social media, such as Facebook and YouTube,” Kim stated.

The campaign builds on the company’s Dear MS ads, by keeping the brand’s “peace sign” to signal the twice-per-year dosing but features an increased emphasis on the importance of slowing disability progression, according to the company.

“The feedback from the MS community regarding the ‘Dear MS’ [direct-to-consumer] campaign has been largely positive, with people expressing appreciation for us showing a range of real people living with MS, including people with mobility issues who use walking-assistance devices,” Kim stated. “That said, the ‘Dear MS’ campaign helped us learn a lot from patients who are often underrepresented in the MS dialogue.”


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