LILLY LAUNCHES NEW RIVAL TO VIAGRA

British Effort Is Prelude to Coming U.S. Battle for Impotent Consumers

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The first anti-impotence drug to rival Pfizer's Viagra launches in the U.K. today, setting the
The new anti-impotence drug Cialis takes on Viagra.
scene for a drug marketing battle that is set to reach the U.S. later this year.

Pfizer executives are meeting agencies in London this week to assign a pan-European "buzz marketing" account. The new wide-ranging campaign is an attempt to blunt strong advance awareness of Eli Lilly & Cos.' Cialis (pronounced CEE-alis), which doctors can begin prescribing today in the U.K. Pfizer's campaign is expected to address Eli Lilly's claims that Cialis is both faster and longer lasting than Viagra.

Two agencies pitch
Two agencies are expected to make presentations to Pfizer: DiMassimo Brand Advertising, New York, and Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London. DiMassimo Brand Advertising is a surprising choice, given its lack of European presence, though the New York-based agency won praise for its guerrilla campaign on behalf of national fitness chain Crunch.

Executives from DiMassimo and Bartle Bogle refused to comment.

The assignment does not have a potential billings figure attached because the campaign isn't expected to involve paid or measured media.

However, given that Viagra sales in 2002 totaled $1.74 billion, Pfizer is unlikely to cede its turf without a major marketing battle. While direct-to-consumer advertising is banned in Europe, regulators do allow professional marketing campaigns aimed at doctors. Eli Lilly is using a local firm, Norris Lincoln Adcom, for the Cialis professional marketing campaign, which broke in the U.K. yesterday.

According to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR, Pfizer spent $86 million in measured media on Viagra in 2001. Between January and October 2002, the pharmaceutical giant spent $75 million. Both figures are for the U.S. market.

Awaiting FDA approval
A U.S. spokeswoman for Eli Lilly said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may make a decision about approval of Cialis in the second half of this year. Eli Lilly uses Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, New York, in the U.S. Cialis isn't the only competition that Pfizer is facing. GlaxoSmithKline and Bayer are also planning to launch anti-impotence drug Levitra this year.

Omnicom Group's Cline, Davis & Mann, New York, is Pfizer's agency of record for Viagra in the U.S.

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