Awareness campaign for SIMDAX from ORION Pharma.
Or: How a pitch became a campaign to counter reservations against modern inotropes.

SIMDAX with the active ingredient levosimendan is a modern inotrope that is used to manage acute decompensated heart failure in clinical settings. Since 2013, the drug has been approved for use in Germany and is marketed to cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, intensive care physicians, and emergency medical doctors, as well as cardiac anesthetists.

The goal of our client, ORION Pharma, was to raise awareness for the product and its USP and convince more specialists to use it. The challenge? Doctors, especially those with little clinical experience, frequently resist using inotropes since it is not seen as a drug of choice and the field of indication in the ESC guidelines is restricted. Often no distinction is made between conventional and modern inotropes.

Our assignment was to develop a key visual that supported its USP and raised awareness for SIMDAX.

Develop a key visual, awareness campaign

ORION Pharma

Repositioning, key visual development, corporate design, campaign development

Acute decompensated heart failure, inotropes


Our briefing indicated that inotropes were opposed by doctors mostly because they increase the consumption of oxygen. The term ‘inotrope’ has negative connotations and should therefore be avoided. SIMDAX, however, does not increase the delivery of oxygen.

A re-briefing workshop that we initiated with subsequent market research showed that doctors do use inotropic agents due to a lack of alternatives. And they would even welcome better drugs. This realization modified our assignment and changed our strategy to one that polarized the inotropic theme, and then provided a positive alternative with SIMDAX.


Instead of a new key visual, we developed an awareness campaign focusing on SIMDAX’s core message: Erhöht die Kontraktilität. Nicht den O2-Verbrauch (Increases contractile force. Not oxygen consumption). In line with the drug’s positioning as a modern inotropic agent, we developed a visual analogy: If conventional inotropes are light bulbs, SIMDAX is an energy saving lamp.

We used conventional channels, sales material, and digital communication to market the new strategy with its key visual: Above the line and below the line. In addition, it was positioned in social medical networks and at trade shows, symposia, and conferences.


After the key visual performed far above the industry average in advertising tests, it was clear that the market research conducted three years after the product launched would also show positive performance. It demonstrated that SIMDAX with its benefits as a modern inotropic agent is well-established in the target group and that the product enjoys a high degree of acceptance.

The sales force also received long-lasting support with the new communication strategy. The result? The ambitious target corridor with regards to prescription figures and sales was easily met.