CIALIS TO OFFER FREE SAMPLES OF RIVAL BRANDS

Ads Offer Viagra or Levitra to Dissatisfied Customers

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- The makers of the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis launched an ad campaign today offering to buy first-time users of the medication a sample of rival brands Viagra or Levitra if they are not satisfied with Cialis.

Voucher for free sample
The campaign carries the tagline

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"Cialis Promise." With a doctor's prescription, patients can try a free sample of Cialis, which is made by Eli Lilly and Icos Corp. Then, by going to the Cialis Web site (www.cialis.com), the patient can print out a voucher that will allow him to try another free sample of Cialis or of Pfizer's Viagra or GlaxoSmithKline and Bayer's Levitra. The second free sample, no matter which brand, must also come with a doctor's prescription.

"We are so confident that men with erectile dysfunction will appreciate the benefits of Cialis that we're willing to go as far as offering to pay for our competitors' products if they are not satisfied," Icos' CEO, Paul Clark, said.

Spending on the TV and print campaign, from Grey Global Group's Healthy Grey Village, New York, was not disclosed.

Has become No. 2
Both Cialis and Levitra debuted last year to great fanfare in what has become a highly competitive arena. Both drugs advertised on this past February's Super Bowl, and while Levitra had a three-month head start on Cialis, it is Cialis that has quietly slipped into the No. 2 spot in sales behind Viagra.

Viagra, which had the category to its own for six years before the competition came along, still owns an 85% share of the marketplace. But worldwide sales of Viagra dropped 12% for the three months ended March 31 compared to last year, and Pfizer responded to the challenge by dumping the only agency Viagra has known, Omnicom Group's Cline Davis & Mann, for Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson Worldwide last month.

Viagra's loylaty program
Pfizer also introduced a program in May to create consumer loyalty with Viagra, offering a seventh prescription free for every six purchased.

Cialis will continue to tout the drug's main point of differentiation over its rivals -- that it can last up to 36 hours. Its first commercial earlier this year featured a man and a woman outdoors in separate bathtubs, with the tagline "When a tender moment turns into the right moment." Its newest spots will now show the bathtubs empty, and a tagline that states: "Looks like someone discovered the Cialis promise."

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