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Relieving the headache

Launch of Botox for chronic migrane

Published: 19 Sep 2011

Allergan Migrane

There was a need to communicate the use of BOTOX® for chronic migraine in an ethical way.

Client: Allergan

Agency: Chandler Chicco Agency

Campaign: Launch of Botox for Chronic Migraine

Timescale: July 2010

A quick look

In spite of celebrity endorsement and global awareness, the media has a love-hate relationship with BOTOX®. With the launch of BOTOX® to treat chronic migraine, there was a huge responsibility to overcome its current ‘anti-ageing’ populist image and ensure the new indication was reported in an ethical way without over-promising. CCA’s approach was to initiate dialogue with UK advocacy groups Migraine Action, Migraine Trust and media-medic thought-leaders to explain the challenge and to gain key insights regarding appropriate messaging and disease awareness activities. The campaign resulted in 212 pieces of on-message coverage being secured across all media outlets reaching an audience of 300+ million, through print, broadcast and online media.


The medical uses for BOTOX® are often overlooked by the media in favour of the celebrity headlines that the product attracts. With the impending licence of BOTOX® for chronic migraine, the biggest challenge was to ensure that the product was reported in an ethical way. Chronic migraine affects approximately 700,000 people in the UK – patients suffer for over half the month with their migraines. However, the condition itself, while highly disabling, had limited awareness, was under diagnosed and under treated with many patients suffering in silence and unaware of available treatments.


It was vital that advocacy groups and media doctors understood the need to communicate the availability of BOTOX® for chronic migraine in an ethical and appropriate way. As a result, two advisory boards were held in order to gain insight and inform the launch plans directly with these key stakeholders and explore the level of understanding around the burden of chronic migraine, the unmet patient need and the impending availability of BOTOX®.

With no opportunity to conduct a disease awareness campaign prior to launch, awareness of this chronic condition had to be driven simultaneously with the launch of BOTOX® for chronic migraine. Media materials were developed for launch with ongoing recommendations provided from third parties, including media backgrounders, press releases and key messages. Key medical spokespeople were thoroughly media trained to ensure ethical delivery of the campaign and enabling awareness to be raised of chronic migraine as a debilitating, under diagnosed medical condition. 


From the media coverage achieved, 100% was balanced and positive in tone and 93% communicated at least three key messages. 212 pieces of coverage were secured reaching an audience in excess of 300 million including 162 radio stations, 16 national newspapers/magazines, 6 trade and 25 online publications. Coverage included GMTV, The Daily Mail, The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Express, BBC Radio 2,4 and 5 Live, and the Financial Times.

Importantly, third-party relationships with key stakeholders were significantly strengthened with the leading UK patient support groups, Migraine Action or Migraine Trust. The campaign resulted in 75% uplift on calls to the Migraine Action helpline, with 80% of the coverage featuring information on both patient groups.

Client verdict

"The seamless appearance of high-profile, responsible and accurate media coverage was the result of meticulous planning and message development, the development of close working relationships with key stakeholders and smart media engagement. We’re delighted that the success of this campaign for Allergan is recognised as a launch blueprint for the roll out of BOTOX® for chronic migraine across Europe."

Janet Kettels, Communications Director, Allergan

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