Look who's talking

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Description: Since last year, when UCB Inc let users of its antiepileptic Keppra speak for the brand, patients have become an important visual and vocal component in all promotion. These are the people who are heroes, explains Matthew Simonian, UCB group product director. The patient pitchmen, sourced from UCB's Epilepsy Advocate Program, give their testimonials on keppra.com and in other venues. They're part of an efficiently run campaign that relies heavily on the Web and word-of-mouth advertising. The advocates have built on an already successful franchise -- so much so that the publication named Simonian and colleagues their Small Pharma Marketing Team of the Year. UCB is committed to the category in several ways. For starters, the firm has broadened Keppra's patient utility on an add-on basis while evolving the creative. Keppra could face generic competition late next year, but an extended-release version of the drug is planned, and UCB is developing a successor, brivaracetam.
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