Not ready to quit smoking cold turkey? Pfizer offers 'slow turkey' campaign for Chantix

Chantix
Pfizer's Chantix gets a new spokes-turkey in TV and digital ads for the smoking cessation drug. (Pfizer)

Pfizer is introducing a new way to quit smoking.

"Slow turkey" is the strategic, and literal, idea in the company's latest TV commercial for smoking cessation drug Chantix. In the new ad, a slow-moving animated turkey goes about its day outside—floating in a pool, reading a book and mowing the lawn—as a voiceover talks about how to ease into quitting smoking with Chantix.

The ad is built around the insight that 95% of smokers who try to quit “cold turkey” are unsuccessful, a Pfizer spokeswoman said in an email. She said Pfizer is “encouraged” by positive feedback from smokers and healthcare providers about the turkey campaign. The work debuted in January on TV and in digital media.

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The turkey is not replacing the TV ads with tough guy actor Ray Liotta, who tells his personal story about quitting smoking—at least, not for now. The spokeswoman said the leisurely turkey and Liotta commercials are running concurrently.

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Revenue for Chantix increased in 2018 to $838 million in the U.S., up from $742 million, an increase of 13%. Sales outside of the U.S. were $247, bringing the drug’s total to $1.09 billion. A report from GoodRx last year noted that sales of Chantix may be getting a boost from price increases. GoodRx noted that the $485 list price of a 30-day supply has more than doubled since 2013. A generic version of Chantix, or varenicline, is expected around 2020.