GSK Teams With Drag Queen To Fight HIV

GlaxoSmithKline's HIV drug Epzicom was available on prescription in the US. The problem GSK faced was how to get patients to ask for it by name.

Historically, HIV patients tend to go with what their doctor recommends - as HIV is a complex condition offering a bewildering array of medications. What's more, almost half of the market is split between two distinct groups: gay white men (20%) and African American women (24%). With a limited budget, GSK needed a bold idea that alienated neither.

Thankfully, there was one person in the US who successfully spoke to gay men and African American women - drag queen RuPaul. 'She' already had a successful TV show - 'RuPaul's Drag Race' - featuring a character called Ongina. By working in partnership with the show's makers, GSK was able to develop Ongina's

Living With HIV' personal story in a series of 'digisodes that could be downloaded from the internet.

As a result of this colourful and brave marketing effort, GSK found the intent to ask for a specific brand of HIV medication increased 150%.