Jessica Hayes, Director NET Marketing, Novartis
Sure, the 1980s were the Golden Age of wrestling with Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Hulk Hogan, and “Macho Man” Randy Savage. But whoever thought that 30 years later, an ’80s-style wrestler would serve as one of the keys to helping patients identify carcinoid syndrome much quicker than the typical five to seven years it usually takes to diagnose. Apparently, Jessica Hayes.
Jessica was responsible for maintaining market leadership for Novartis Oncology’s 30-year-old brand, Sandostatin LAR, which is the first FDA-approved SSA for severe diarrhea and flushing associated with metastatic carcinoid tumors. Carcinoid syndrome is rare and difficult to diagnose, with symptoms that can include flushing, diarrhea, bloating, stomach pain, and irregular heartbeat. Along the way, patients typically receive numerous inaccurate diagnoses and are forced to make major lifestyle changes.
While Novartis has had a longstanding commitment to this patient community, the company primarily engaged them after diagnosis. Jessica aimed to change that with a campaign that reached out to potentially undiagnosed patients for the first time. “The Wrestler,” an integrated unbranded campaign developed with Klick Health, brought stomach pain and discomfort to life via a miniature 1980s-style wrestler who would pop up and wreak havoc at the most inopportune times.
Potential patients were reached using a sophisticated look-a-like model, and both endemic and programmatic media placements, including addressable TV. Leading metrics have all gone beyond the projected numbers and the impact of this campaign is only beginning to be realized. Additionally, the work of Jessica and her team has piqued the interest of multiple disciplines across Novartis, and Jessica has been happy to share the learnings more broadly within the Oncology Business Unit and across therapeutic areas.