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Pfizer targets women in Viagra campaign

Hope a female voice will encourage men to seek treatment for erectile dysfunction

Pfizer is taking a direct approach in its new advertising campaign for Viagra by having a woman encourage men to seek treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED).

The minute-long commercial, which airs in the US, features a woman in a bed in a tropical setting discussing the problem of ED and how Viagra (sildenafil citrate) can support men with the condition.

“You know what plenty of guys have this issue, not just getting a erection but keeping it,” she says in a British accent. “Well Viagra helps guys with ED get and keep an erection. And you only take it when you need it. If ED is stopping what you started, ask your doctor about Viagra.”

Notable Viagra advertisements

1998: Former presidential contender Bob Dole appears in a campaign to raise awareness about ED

2003: Rafael Palmeiro, a former Texas Ranger baseball player, is enlisted by Pfizer as a spokesman

2000s: Brazilian football legend Pele becomes the face of Viagra despite insisting he has no need for the drug

2014: Pfizer uses a woman for the first time to encourage men to treat ED

The spot was created by New York-based agency BBDO, who took over Pfizer's Viagra account from McGarryBowen last year.

BBDO's president John Osborn told AdAge: "This is an example of a very simple, straightforward story well told via an execution that I would say uses direct, honest, compassionate approach to simply let men with ED know they are not alone. It was our belief that this approach would put men at ease."

Addressing the issue of ED campaigns being the subject of parody, Osborn added: “We are intending to create conversation, not parody per se."

Viagra was once one of the world's biggest selling drugs, and in 2000 it accounted for 92% of prescription ED drug sales.

Sales have fallen since then due in part to the availability of other branded ED treatments, such as Lilly's Cialis (tadalafil). The drug also lost patent protection in major European markets last year leading to the launch of generic versions of the drug.

Despite this Pfizer still sees the product as a major part of its portfolio, with Viagra recording global sales of $1.9bn for 2013.

The company has already implemented several schemes to maximise the drug's potential before the launch of a generic version in the US in 2017, including a home delivery service for Viagra.

Article by
Thomas Meek

2nd October 2014

From: Marketing, Healthcare

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