Cialis' Pitch: Have Sex More Than Twice a Week

Ads Will Shift Focus From 36-Hour Window After Approval of Daily Dosage

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A correction has been made in this story. See below for details.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AdAge.com) -- The famous "36-hour window" that differentiated erectile-dysfunction drug Cialis from its competitors is no longer needed -- either for sex or as a marketing tool.

The Food and Drug Administration last week approved Eli Lilly & Co.'s Cialis for daily use in the U.S., meaning, more or less, that men can be at the ready all the time.

Cialis still will be available in 10-or 20-milligram doses on a "use when needed" basis that gives men a 36-hour window in which to have sex. Competitors Viagra and Levitra last for about four hours.

But a new 5-milligram daily dosage of Cialis is for men who anticipate having sex more frequently, and new advertising is expected to reflect that.

When the mood strikes
A campaign from Cialis' consumer agency of record, Grey Worldwide, will be geared toward men who plan to have sex twice a week or more. Instead of having to anticipate when they'll have sex and taking the old dose accordingly, men can disregard the timing factor and 36-hour window altogether. With the new daily dosage of Cialis, the drug will already be in their systems, creating something of an "on-demand" effect.

Shawn Heffern, Lilly's U.S. director-brand marketing for Cialis, and an Eli Lilly spokeswoman both cited proprietary information and declined to provide details about any coming advertising. But the iconic bathtubs that have appeared in Cialis' advertising since its inception are expected to remain.

"It's our goal to educate doctors about this new treatment option before advertising begins," Mr. Heffern said. Abelson Taylor, Chicago, is Cialis' professional agency of record. "I can't give an exact time frame for when we launch new ads."

The daily dose is already in use in some parts of Europe.

First billion?
Since coming on the market in 2003, Cialis has steadily gained market share and eroded Viagra's dominance in the ED category. While it remains a distant second, Cialis is on track to record its first $1 billion sales year for 2007. Through the first nine months of last year, Cialis rang up sales of $798 million, according to IMS Health -- a projection of $1.06 billion for the year. Pfizer's Viagra had sales of just under $1.3 billion in the first nine months of 2007 for a projected total of $1.73 billion.

According to IMS, Viagra controls almost 60% of the ED market in the U.S, with Cialis at 27% and Levitra at 13%. Levitra is jointly marketed by Bayer AG and Schering-Plough.

But Cialis is the market leader in about 20 countries, according to Lilly, including France, where the pill was dubbed "le weekend" when it first came on the market.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Abelson Taylor Chicago is Cialis' consumer agency of record and that GSW Worldwide is the brand's professional agency. Cialis' professional agency of record is Abelson Taylor. It's consumer agency of record is Grey Worldwide. We regret the error.
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