Launched into the prescription marketplace last June-shortly after patch and gum treatments started selling over-the-counter-Zyban was the first pill form and the only non-nicotine therapy. It was up against $134.7 million in media advertising from the OTC brands last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
Director of DTC Marketing Rick Gleber, 40, has led Glaxo to become the biggest prescription drug advertiser ($155 million last year) and decided that Zyban should get "the largest support behind a prescription product, given our competition in OTC. We knew we had to have strong support to play in their backyard."
Mr. Gleber broke a $55 million campaign last September via FCB Healthcare, with offices in New York and San Francisco, that took Zyban into some unusual places. The DTC*campaign broke ground for out-of-home advertising, usually hampered by disclosure requirements, by including racks on airport ads to distribute the necessary patient information.
The bulk of media was print ads since research found that "upscale magazine readers have higher smoker quit rates," says Mr. Gleber, who went with choices such as hotel magazines and gay magazine Out.
Though TV opened up for prescription drug advertising last August, Mr. Gleber started off cautiously using unbranded TV "to test the waters." Like others, he "had concern that the [dislosure] message might scare people."
New branded work began in April.
According to Mr. Gleber, "Our media strategy can be summed up in building awareness as quickly as possible and making them more conscious of where they're addicted to nicotine."