Pfizer Breaks Latest Unbranded DTC Work

Erectile Dysfunction Ads Come as Drug Maker Readies New Viagra Effort

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NEW YORK ( -- Even as it readies a branded campaign for Viagra, Pfizer today introduced a second unbranded ad campaign for erectile dysfunction aimed at boosting sagging sales by motivating men to discuss the condition with their doctor.
In the wake of sagging sales, Pfizer is launching new Viagra marketing campaigns.
In the wake of sagging sales, Pfizer is launching new Viagra marketing campaigns.

Radio host featured
Six months after asking men to "Make the Call" in an unbranded ad campaign, Pfizer's new tagline is "Just Ask Today." The campaign is designed to educate men about the causes and varying degrees of erectile dysfunction and is comprised of a Web site,, a toll-free number and national TV spots featuring sexual health expert and TV and radio host Dr. Drew Pinsky.

A spending figure was not disclosed.

In the new TV ads, from Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Healthcare, New York, Dr. Pinsky, standing alone outside the 90,000-seat Los Angeles Coliseum, says, "Guys just seem to have a natural aversion to the doctor's office, especially when it comes to a sensitive health issue like erectile dysfunction."

He then goes inside the empty Coliseum and says, "And yet, nearly half of all guys over 40 -- and some even younger -- have ED, a number which could fill this stadium many times over."

Though the TV spot does not mention Viagra, the Web site has a section in which it asks participants to answer a series of questions. After hitting "submit," the site then takes you to a page that features the phrase "Learn about the most-prescribed ED tablet" and a link that takes you to Viagra's dedicated Web site.

Declining market share
According to pharmaceutical information company IMS Health, Viagra had 62.7% of the ED drug category last year, down from 73.4% in 2004 and 90% in 2003. Cialis, from Eli Lilly and Icos, has a 23.3% share and Levitra, from GlaxoSmithKline and Schering-Plough, has 10.9%.

Research from GSK and Schering-Plough has shown that less than a third of men who have ED are currently being treated. A recent survey conducted by Pfizer showed that only 15% of men have asked their doctor about ED during a routine exam.

"ED is a legitimate medical condition that has a significant impact on both the men who experience it as well as their partners. Misconceptions and stigma associated with the condition prevent them from initiating that important conversation with their doctors," Dr. Pinsky said.
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