Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Cialis Blog -- Shame on Lilly ICOS

In the Pharma Marketing News article "Blogs and the Pharmaceutical Industry," I made a passing reference to www.cialisblog.com as an example (albeit a BAD example) of a blog sponsored by a pharmaceutical company. Here's what I said:
Consider www.cialisblog.com, an ICOS blog about the ED drug Cialis. This blog violates several blogging principles. Most importantly, it lacks a "human voice."” Most posts to the blog appear to be company press releases and are signed "Posted by Cialis."” This may be an attempt to establish rapport with the brand, but it doesn't work. The second problem is that posts are infrequent. Strangely, some posts are focused on ICOS profit data and have nothing to do with Cialis at all!
My friend and fellow blogger, Fard Johnmar, over at Invisioning 2.0, pointed out to me that Lilly ICOS is attempting to distance itself from any responsibility for the blog. According to Johnmar:
"It turns out that the Cialis blog is not endorsed by the powers that be at Lilly ICOS, according to Lilly spokesperson Kindra Strupp... I'’m not sure what caused the confusion about the blog, but it may have been the fact that the blog features the Cialis logo prominently and provides information about Cialis clinical trials. Prior to my contacting Lilly, the company was unaware that the Cialis blog existed."
Pharmaceutical Executive Magazine, according to Johnmar, "reported in October 2004 that 'Eli Lilly and Icos . . . publish the Cialis Blog' (www.cialisblog.com). Given this report, it appeared that Lilly ICOS had successfully managed the numerous legal and regulatory issues associated with developing and publishing an offical (sic) blog."

I found out about the Cialis blog from the piece in PE. If I read it, I am sure someone at Lilly ICOS read it too. That Lilly ICOS is now saying they were, until now, unaware of the blog is too far-fetched to be believed.

If Lilly ICOS was truly unaware that the Cialis logo was being misused then that just demonstrates incredible incompetence on their part. If you can't control your corporate assets -- and your logo is a VERY important one -- then you should be shot, business-wise.

Johnmar tells me that the Lilly ICOS spokesperson also said it was "out of their control." That defense would not play well in Peoria nor in Rockville. It's a lame and indefensible excuse and I am surprised that it was offered by an official spokesperson. So, either Lilly ICOS is lying or they are inept or they are not taking any responsibility for proactively fixing the problem (unlike Pfizer, I might add, that vigorously protects its Viagra brand from counterfeit). Any way you slice it, shame on Lilly ICOS!


Now that Kindra knows I hope Lilly ICOS will take swift action and halt the hijack of the Cialis brand logo and at least force its removable from a blog that disguises itself as an official Cialis site. That should be easy. The blog is hosted by Google Blogger, which should be able to pull the plug, especially if it receives a threatening call from Lilly ICOS's legal department (you do have a legal department, don't you Kindra?).


Meanwhile, what would DDMAC think of all this if someone were to send them a screen shot of the Cialis Blog?


2 comments:

  1. A little more research and you get a lot more answers.

    The domain registration and hosting data for cialisblog.com:

    https://www.wildwestdomains.com/gdshop/whois.asp?se=%2B&prog%5Fid=wildwestdomains&domain=cialisblog%2Ecom&ci=1718

    The blog site is:

    * Registered by a party (Mircea Piturca) in Romania (address may be real or not)

    * Registering company is Vandelay Industries (A tribute to TV's Seinfeld no doubt)

    * Registrant's email domain is swing-sets.us

    * swing-sets.us is a website that links to other retailers as an affiliate

    Bottom Line: I don't think Lilly-Icos has anything to do with this blog. This is an obvious attempt to hijack the Cialis brand to some other purpose. I would guess that all of the posts in the blog are copy-paste ripoffs from other sources just to have some posts.

    There are certainly legal and procedural options that they can pursue to shut it down, which they should do immediately. Details at the following link.
    http://www.icann.org/dndr/udrp/policy.htm

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