Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Viva Viagra Ad is No Cure for Morte Sales

According to a report on Bloomberg.com, "Pfizer is struggling to boost sales of Viagra, which have fallen 11 percent to $1.7 billion since 2003, when Eli Lilly & Co.'s Cialis and Bayer AG's Levitra became available." (See "Pfizer Sings `Viva Viagra' to Boost Sales of Impotence Drug")

Once again, Pfizer turns to direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising to reverse it's loss of market share. The latest ad ran last night on NBC Nightly News. It featured a boomer boy band (see screen shots below) singing to the Elvis tune of "Viva Las Vegas" only this time it was "Viva Viagra" they were shouting.

"Viva" now adorns the viagra.com website and all ads for Viagra online.

Of course, some naysayers accuse Pfizer of playing up the link between Sin City (Las Vegas) and recreational use of Viagra. Viagra, they say, is a treatment for a serious medical condition -- erectile dysfunction. Viagra ads, they say, should focus on educating consumers about this condition, explain the treatment options, and encourage men to ask their doctors about the symptoms and treatment.

That, after all, is the benefits of DTC according to PhRMA's Guiding Principles, which claim:

"A strong empirical record demonstrates that DTC communications about prescription medicines serve the public health by:
  • Increasing awareness about diseases;
  • Educating patients about treatment options;
  • Motivating patients to contact their physicians and engage in a dialogue about health concerns;
  • Increasing the likelihood that patients will receive appropriate care for conditions that are frequently under-diagnosed and under-treated; and
  • Encouraging compliance with prescription drug treatment regimens."
Unfortunately, there's not enough time in 60 seconds to do the song and ALSO explain ALL this! Something had to give and the Viagra ad agency went with the catchy song instead of the boring education.

Instead of education, viewers only got to hear the indication, a sales claim, and the standard "Talk to your doctor" statement as in: "Talk to your doctor about Viagra, America's most prescribed treatment for erectile dysfunction. Learn more at viagra.com." The words "erectile dysfunction" (ER) appeared in small type and no mention was made that ER may be a condition associated with more serious medical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.

In contrast, Lilly continues to run more serious Cialis ads that discuss the causes of ED. So while Viagra marketers fiddle with the Viva theme, Cialis sales continue to burn up the ED market! At this rate, Viagra soon may NOT be America's "most prescribed treatment for erectile dysfunction."

No Women Here!
In a departure from previous Viagra ads and most other ED ads I've seen, there are NO women in the Viva Viagra ad. It's just a bunch of good old (well, not so old) guys in what looks like an abandoned roadhouse having some fun with their instruments -- not that there's anything wrong with that! At the end of the ad, they all SEEM to go their separate ways -- home to their "honey's" I suppose.

Along with the recent Exubera ad, this ad firmly places Pfizer in my League of Undistinguished DTC Advertisers.

Screen shots of the Viva Viagra video as seen on viagra.com Web site

VIVA VIAGRA LYRICS

Got me a honey gonna set my soul,
gonna set my soul on fire!
At the end of the day
I'm not a guy to stray
because she's my heart desire.

Now this lonesome toad
is sick of the road
I can't wait

CHORUS; Can't wait!

I can't wait to go home.

CHORUS: Viva Viagra! Viva, VIva, VIVA VIAGRA!

###


2 comments:

  1. Miss Amanda2:45 PM

    As distasteful as it is -- and it is VERY distasteful -- the Viva Viagra ad campaign begs the same question that all of these pharmaceutical ads beg: namely, they're barking up the wrong tree. Consumers can't simply go out and buy a prescription drug. It must be prescribed by their doctor. I'm sure the medical profession is kept fully apprised (as it has always been) of the latest products available. The pharmaceutical companies should take all the money they spend on TV ads and use it instead to reduce the overinflated retail price of their drugs.

    ReplyDelete
  2. If it were only that simple!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...