Pfizer launches first Prevnar TV spot to bring in the 50-plus crowd

Pfizer's Prevnar 13 ad--Courtesy

Pfizer ($PFE) knows adults generally don't think they're at risk for pneumococcal pneumonia. So to get them to listen up about pneumonia-blocker Prevnar 13, it linked the disease to those they do take seriously.

"What if one stalk of broccoli could protect you from cancer? What if one push-up could prevent heart disease?" a narrator asks in Pfizer's first-ever TV spot for its blockbuster vaccine. "Wishful thinking, right? But there is one step you can take to prevent another serious disease."

The commercial goes on to show an adult getting a single Prevnar shot between clips of others grocery-shopping for a single carrot, eating a single blueberry or doing a single yoga pose.

As Pfizer spokeswoman Sally Beatty told FiercePharmaMarketing via email, adults at age 50 often see friends develop conditions like high cholesterol and heart disease. "It's in this timeframe when they start thinking about changing their own behaviors and begin undergoing routine screenings," she said. "They watch what they eat, try to exercise and are more aware that they should get mammograms and colonoscopies to prevent disease."

Pfizer's Prevnar 13 ad--Courtesy

And that's when Pfizer wants them to begin thinking about Prevnar vaccination, too. The jab is approved for adults over the age of 50, but the only universal adult recommendation it boasts from the CDC's influential Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is for adults over 65. And that means Pfizer's got extra work to do in the 50-to-65 age range. 

Pfizer's job in the over-65 crowd is getting tougher, too, CEO Ian Read said on the company's Q3 conference call. The way he put it, the company has "done an excellent job finding and protecting 25% to 30% of the eligible population older than 65," getting ahead of schedule and, as a result, posting more than $1 billion in Q3 sales.

But focusing on the remaining over-65-ers in the U.S. "will require sustained effort," Read noted, pointing out that "this group is more difficult to reach." 

- watch the spot
- read Pfizer's earnings transcript

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