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MediaRadar’s 12 Ads of Christmas: 9 Pharmas Placing

MediaRadar’s 12 Ads of Christmas: 9 Pharmas Placing

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This week we continue the tradition of recapping the most notable brands spending on advertising across ad tech platforms, consumer media and B2B industries. And, of course, this is all styled after the most involved carol out there: the 12 Days of Christmas.

On the ninth day of Christmas, MediaRadar sent to me:

12 Engines Revving
11 Boxes Shipping

10 Brands a-Sponsoring

9 Pharmas Placing (that’s today!)
8 ???
7 ???
6 ???
5 ???
4 ???
3 ???
2 ???
And a ???

Be sure to sign up for our blog newsletter so you don’t miss the rest of our year-end countdown!

Up today: instead of nine ladies dancing, it’s nine pharmas placing. Pharmaceutical companies placing ads programmatically, that is. 

While pharmaceuticals isn’t necessarily the biggest programmatic spender as an industry, several companies on this list made our list of the top programmatic advertisers this year. These nine companies have spent over $114 million on programmatic ads this year so far. 

Without further ado, these are the top nine pharma brands placing ads programmatically in 2019. 


The owner of Nicorette gum spent $22 million on programmatic advertising in 2019. It even specializes in holiday-themed display ads, as you can see from its ad creative from late 2018. 


Endo International 

The maker of erectile dysfunction medication Stendra spent nearly a quarter of its total digital advertising budget on programmatic advertising. Endo spent has spent $18 million programmatically in 2019. 

Endo International


Arguably one of the more consumer-friend pharmaceutical companies (with brands like Alka-Seltzer and Aleve), Bayer has an advertising budget of over $100 million. It spent $15 million of that on programmatic ads in 2019. 



Sanofi invests in premium ad units and takes out full page ads in print publications, but the pharmaceutical company also invests a good chunk of its advertising budget to programmatic:  $13 million 2019 so far. Its tongue-in-cheek holiday ad for heartburn drug Zantac is particularly well placed. 



Pfizer has spent $11 million programmatically in 2019, combining content marketing with programmatic advertising with headlines like: “How to tell if it’s a cold or the flue — read the story”. 

Pfizer ad

Abbott Labs 

Abbott Labs also spent $11 million on programmatic ads this year to promote popular brands like PediaSure and PediaLyte. 

Abbot Labs Ad

Eli Lilly & Co. 

The Indiana-based pharmaceutical company has spent $10 million programmatically in 2019, promoting brands like migraine relief Emgality and animal health products like Elanco. 

Eli Lilly ad

Amneal Pharma 

Amneal runs programmatic display ads on top consumer sites like WebMD, and has spent $7 million programmatically in 2019. 

Amneal Pharma Drug


Along with Pfizer, Novartis recently made headlines for spending $2 billion on gene therapy production. The number makes the $7 million Novartis spent on programmatic advertising in 2019 pale in comparison, but it is still a top spender for pharmaceutical companies advertising programmatically in 2019. 

Novartis Ad