PFIZER DROPS PLAN FOR EUROPEAN VIAGRA CAMPAIGN

DiMassimo and Bartle Bogle Hegarty Were Pitching Account

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has axed plans to launch a pan-European buzz marketing campaign to support Viagra against the rollout of a rival anti-impotency drug from Eli Lilly & Cos.

Agencies were expecting an announcement from Pfizer as early as this week, but were instead told the campaign was being shelved indefinitely.

'Belt-tightening'
Two finalist New York-based

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agencies -- DiMassimo Brand Advertising and Bartle Bogle Hegarty -- were invited to outline their campaign proposals in London early February. An executive close to the review said that "belt-tightening" was the reason for the change of plan.

Pfizer said it had no comment on the subject and officials from both creative agencies also refused to discuss the matter.

New York-based Pfizer began to sound out agencies about the new assignment -- put at around $1 million per European country -- back in November. Pfizer also heard pitches from Havas' Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners, New York, and Interpublic Group of Cos.' public relations firm Weber Shandwick Worldwide. Both companies were eliminated.

Launch of Cialis
The company was expected to roll out a guerilla-style campaign to blunt the impact of the launch of rival brand Cialis from Eli Lilly. Cialis debuted in the U.K. on Feb. 4 and is rolling out around Europe. Eli Lilly is hoping to launch the drug, the first competitor to Viagra, in the U.S. in the second half of 2003.

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