Pfizer Viagra single-dose packets star in new TV advertising

Viagra

Another woman in a blue dress is on the airwaves promoting Viagra. This time, however, it’s to push single-dose packs of Pfizer’s erectile dysfunction drug. The single-dose packaging debuted last summer, and while other ads have mentioned its availability, this is the first ad dedicated to promoting the on-the-go packaging.

The new :30 TV spot keeps the direct-to-the-camera talking style Pfizer debuted for Viagra two years ago, but departs somewhat in that the woman doesn’t speak directly to men in what has been a much-debated “straight talk” approach. Instead, the actress, speaking to the camera, simply notes the new packaging and says “so guys with ED can take Viagra when they need it.” 

Also a departure from the recent one-woman Viagra ads is the appearance of a man. Although his face is never shown, he appears as what would seem to be her partner in several scenes.

Pfizer spokesman Steve Danehy said in an email interview, “With any new DTC campaign we continue to evolve our approach. Pfizer DTC communications about Viagra have always sought to increase men’s awareness of ED as a treatable medical condition, inform them about the benefits and risks of therapy, and motivate them to talk to their doctors. We continue our commitment with the introduction of Viagra Single Packs--individually wrapped for convenience.”

The campaign includes print ads in magazines targeting men 35 and older. BBDO created the print and TV ads, while Rapp did the digital work.

When Pfizer debuted the single packs in July, a spokesman told FiercePharma that a study it ran found 50% of the 503 men queried were interested in trying the single packs. Men still get the same Viagra prescription from their doctors, and then at the pharmacy, specifically request the single pack doses. Availability depends on the pharmacy’s ability or willingness to stock the packs.

Along with the new single pack ads, Pfizer is also running three other TV spots for Viagra currently. One that bowed last July, which mentions single packs now available at the end, has tallied $15 million in spending since its debut, according to real-time TV tracker iSpot.tv's data. Another ad began at the end of 2015, while the third began in March; both mention the availability of single packs in the last few seconds.

The new packaging and ads may be Viagra’s move for a competitive edge against other ED drugs such as Eli Lilly’s Cialis and Bayer's Levitra, and as Viagra prepares for generic competition likely to hit in 2017. 

Viagra had been the fourth-largest prescription drug advertised in 2014, but dropped to No. 10 in 2015, from $211 million down to just $125 million, according to Nielsen data. Competitor Cialis was the No. 1 ad spender both years at $249 million in 2014 and $220 million in 2015. 

Viagra sales brought in $1.3 billion in 2015 worldwide, up from $1.18 billion in both 2014 and 2013, according to Pfizer’s 2015 annual report. 

- see the TV ad on iSpot.tv

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