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Breaking the Dangerous Cycle of Over-reliance on SABA Inhalers

by Real Chemistry, Edelman and Engine MHP for AstraZeneca

Summary of work

Overuse of blue reliever (SABA) inhalers is a systemic and dangerous health problem in asthma. The situation prevails despite global asthma guidelines changing in 2019, urging doctors to stop treating symptoms solely with SABA inhalers, because over-use indicates uncontrolled asthma and increases risk of asthma attacks.
To disrupt decades of apathy, we launched an omni-channel patient programme encouraging patients to rethink SABA over-dependency. The campaign targeted all the inhaler trigger points where sufferers may over-rely on SABA.
Promotion came through: AI-powered personalised Facebook and Instagram ads; contextual programmatic display; YouTube pre-roll; and out-of-home. Ads were developed with ‘trigger moments’ in mind, and activated based on real-time environmental factors.
A digital campaign targeting HCPs and policymakers was also launched to encourage HCPs to identify SABA over-reliance, encourage healthcare policies that limit use of SABA therapy, monitor its use in order to help change behaviours, and reduce the risk of preventable asthma attacks. This was amplified across corporate and patient advocacy group social channels, as well as banner ads across the British Medical Journal website.
The Break Over-Reliance campaign has been successfully implemented across 18 countries, with the backing of medical and patient groups who identified with campaign’s important message.

Judges' comments

The entry from Real Chemistry, Edelman, Engine MHP and AstraZeneca clearly laid out what they wanted to achieve, measure and how they would go about it.  It was really focused on understanding whether the campaign worked or not and the strategy was strong, with the multiple agencies working well together.


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Breaking the Dangerous Cycle of Over-reliance on SABA Inhalers - by Real Chemistry, Edelman and Engine MHP for AstraZeneca

Category Sponsors

Jon Pike, Mearns & Pike - Communiqué 2020 winner

Key dates

Entry deadline 11 March 2022
Extended entry deadline 18 March 2022
(additional fee applies)
Judging days May 2022
Awards Ceremony 7th July 2022

Contact information:

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Entry and dinner booking enquiries:
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