IMPOTENCE DRUG AD DEBUTS AFTER SUPER BOWL VETO: ABC, CBS AND CNN RUNNING SPOT FOR MUSE

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A direct-to-consumer ad campaign for prescription impotence drug Muse, rejected by NBC for the Super Bowl, broke on other networks over the weekend.

Muse marketer Vivus scheduled buys for the estimated $5 million campaign, which features the voice of actor Ed Asner, on ABC, CBS and CNN. CBS will include prime-time programming.

Print ads will run in national magazines and newspapers.

`INAPPROPRIATE' FOR SUPER BOWL

NBC said it rejected the commercial because it decided the spot was inappropriate for the Super Bowl program, time period and audience. Vivus did not try to buy time on other NBC programs.

TV networks historically have been sensitive about condom, contraceptive and other such products' advertising.

"Perhaps we were a little bit ahead of our time for NBC," said Julian Gangolli, VP-sales and marketing at Vivus. "This is an educational process for everyone involved. No one has approached the networks for an impotence-based product before."

TARGETING MEN OVER 45

TV and print ads from Hoffman/Lewis, San Francisco, are all-text and make the point that the condition is physical, not mental. The target audience is men ages 45 and over.

Mr. Gangolli said the company decided to do DTC advertising because "this is not a discussion typically brought up by a physician. This is one of the last taboo subjects."

The product, a gel-based micropellet, sells in packs of six for about $130.

Muse's main competitor is Pharmacia & Upjohn's injection-based Caverject, which received $3.2 million in DTC media support-almost entirely in magazines-through October, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

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