The pharmaceutical and entertainment industries have been abuzz since word dropped this week of Paula Deen’s type 2 diabetes diagnosis
. The announcement offered an unexpected twist: the queen of Southern cuisine has also signed an endorsement deal with Novo Nordisk for its diabetes medication Victoza. The campaign called “Diabetes in a New Light” is meant to support healthy lifestyle changes in conjunction with the therapy – a stark contrast to Deen’s traditional tableau that consists of fried burgers on a glazed doughnut bun. A bold move by Novo, no doubt, but it’s certainly not the first of its kind.
Controversy aside, celebrities have been in the biopharma and healthcare spotlight for years – Bob Dole for Viagra, Sally Field for Boniva, Rob Lowe for Neulasta and now Paula Deen for Victoza. What other celebrities have successfully held sponsorships in the drug arena?
If time and tradition are any indicators, this will be an advertising trend for years to come. But still stands the question: just how efficacious or appropriate is this approach to drug promotion? And now that Deen’s endorsement has garnered public interest beyond the industry, how will celebrity pharmaceutical tie-ins be viewed or utilized in the future?