NEW PFIZER ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION ADS DON'T MENTION VIAGRA

First TV Spots in Overhauled DTC Marketing Efforts

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Pfizer rolled out its first new campaign since announcing an overhaul of its direct-to-consumer marketing three months ago, a nonbranded disease-awareness campaign for erectile dysfunction that hit the airwaves last night.

The new Pfizer TV ads, which don't mention Viagra, drive viewers to the makethecall.com Web site, which offers an animated explanation of erectile dysfunction as well an online form to request free samples of Viagra.
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The campaign, called “Make the Call,” is aimed at motivating millions of men who remain undiagnosed and untreated for ED. The ad prompts men to “make the call” to an 800-number or to visit a Web site (www.makethecall.com) to get more information about the condition, as well as tips on how to talk to a health-care provider about symptoms and possible treatment options. The ad is based on research that shows men are still reluctant to talk about ED.

Handled by Digitas
The spots do not mention Pfizer’s ED medication, Viagra, nor is the campaign handled by McCann Erickson, the agency responsible for creating ads for Viagra. The “Make the Call” commercials, as well as the creation of the Web site, were done by Digitas, New York.

A Pfizer spokeswoman said the campaign reflects the drug maker’s commitment to encourage dialogue between patient and physician, first reported by Advertising Age on July 25. It was officially announced by the company in August, shortly after the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America unveiled its voluntary code of conduct for DTC promotion.

$1 billion in spending
Pfizer spends almost $1 billion in measured media annually, according to TNS Media Intelligence. In making its sea change, Pfizer removed VP-Consumer Marketing Dorothy Wetzel; said it would reduce outlays on TV and boost Internet and radio spending; and would also include more comprehensive risk information in its ads.

At the time, Pfizer’s senior VP-U.S. marketing, Greg Duncan, told Advertising Age that “everyone from the professional to the average consumer will see a change in our advertising in the next year.” But the change is now evident even sooner.

Age-appropriate criteria
In this first effort since the announcement, Pfizer remained true to its self-imposed guidelines, including when the ads will air. The “Make the Call” spots are targeted to avoid audiences that are not age-appropriate for the messages involved. Therefore, the spots will be aired only on TV programs that have greater than 90% adult viewership. The commercials will be further limited to programs that air after 8 p.m.

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