PFIZER TURNS TO HUMOROUS APPROACH WITH VISINE ADS

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In a break from its traditional advertising, Pfizer is using a humorous approach for Visine eye drops.

The new ads from Partners & Shevack, New York, seek to craft a new identity for the brand.

"It's trying to find the true Visine image," said Jeff Williamson, senior VP-group creative director at Shevack. "We're looking to humanize the brand."

The first new spot in the campaign features animated eyes that talk about the product and solve "red-eye syndrome" by using Visine. The spot will air on network and cable TV beginning this week.

Spending is estimated at $3 million to $4 million through yearend.

LIGHT-SPENDING CATEGORY

Media spending in the niche market is generally light, with leader Pfizer putting about $15 million behind Visine last year. Abbott Laboratories' Clear Eyes brand was supported by $6.5 million in 1996 and its Murine product got only $1 million, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Previous Visine commercials focused heavily on product claims, often saying Visine "Gets the red out" better than the competition.

While there is no shortage of product claims in the new ad, Mr. Williamson said focus-group research indicated the claims "go down painlessly" because of the way they're presented in the ads.

Tom Blute, who as Pfizer ophthalmics category manager oversees the Visine brand, said the explosion of Visine rivals prompted Pfizer to re-examine Visine's

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