...don't even ignore 'em.
-- Samuel Goldwyn

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Free trial offer. On Cialis?


Yep. Cialis, one of Viagra's catch-up competitors, is running TV spots offering a free trial dose of their med, and if you don't "like it," they'll buy your next dose of one of the competitors' pills. [Here's their Web pitch.]

Cialis is the brand that includes a warning about four-hour erections--it's something all of them apparently have to worry about, but neither of the others have used in their TV ads. I don't remember hearing anybody mention this, but it seems to me that this is the first of the pharmas to actually use a required warning to imply product differentiation. In advertising, nothing is accidental.

By the way, the pharma is Lilly/ICOS. ICOS was a startup, one of whose investors was Bill Gates. Some of us Gates-watchers around Seattle thought Bill was going to help cure cancer, but no. [Seriously, folks, ICOS has a bunch of products they're working on; Cialis was just their first approved drug--call it a cash bull.]

This new campaign just started, just a couple of weeks after the pharmaceutical industry rolled out its new ad standards, designed to cool some of the heat their pervasive "direct to consumer" campaigns have ingnited. Lilly says it was one of the instigators of the new standards. Here's how its press release says the Cialis campaign complies:

The company, along with its partner ICOS Corporation, will limit the advertising of Cialis to programs when younger audiences are unlikely to be viewing. In doing so, the companies will commit to target programming with at least 90 percent adult viewers. Cialis television advertisements will not air during the broadcast of major sporting events, such as the Super Bowl and the Olympics, which are likely to draw large numbers of younger viewers. The companies will begin implementing these changes immediately, with full compliance within 60 days.
O.K., great. So you think you're keeping your sexually charged spots away from young people by trusting the accuracy of the Nielsens. Actually, the Cialis spots are probably just fine--they're about the freebee, not some outlandish claim. The most aggressive thing they suggest is that you'll like their product. Of course, they made sure they included the four-hour erection warning.

Please, somebody convince me that this is all about the great mission of medical science--to heal or prevent the scourges of mankind. I believe that product marketing and advertising have no business in prescription medicine.

2 comments:

james king said...

Erectile Dysfunction can be a serious blow to the self esteem of a man. Although it is not a dangerous health condition, yet can indicate grave health hazards. cialis can be the answer to the male sexual problem of impotence. Men buy cialis as it is an effective sexual drug that has its effect for at least 36 hours. Internet is gaining popularity these days as it has become one of the prime sources to buy cialis online. cialis online is sold by several pharmacies that provide cheap cialis.

DAVE NEWTON said...

FROM DAVE NEWTON: Just for the record, this commercial comment obviously comes from an online drug dealer, who, as you no doubt know, are the most active spammers right now. I'm leaving it up, though I could easily delete it, as a monument to another genus of hype--the Undernet Marketplace. It's cheap advertising, one of the byproducts of expensive prescription drug marketing. I could turn off "comments", too. Even did that for awhile. I'd rather take the opportunity to add a caveat. It's illegal in the U.S. to sell prescription drugs without an order from a licensed physician who's actually examined the patient. Maybe we can't chase down every on- or offshore perpetrator, but we can get smart about the whole mess.