How much sexual innuendo can an advertiser pack into 15 seconds?

Pfizer, the world’s largest drug company, offers an answer in a new campaign for Viagra, so far shown only in Canada. The ads feature middle-aged men and women talking in a made-up language, save for one word.

“Viagra spanglecheff?” says a man to a friend at a bowling alley.

“Spanglecheff?” his friend asks.

“Minky Viagra noni noni boo-boo plats!” the first man replies, with a grin that suggests he is not talking about the drug’s side effects. The ads end with the slogan, “The International Language of Viagra.”

Pfizer has always straddled a line marketing Viagra, insisting that the drug treats a serious medical condition, impotence, and deserves insurance coverage, while promoting the drug with wink-and-a-nod ads that have irritated regulators.

In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration told the company to stop running ads that included the lines, “Remember that guy who used to be called ‘Wild Thing’? The guy who wanted to spend the entire honeymoon indoors?”

The ads come as Viagra is losing market share to other impotence drugs. Last year, Pfizer’s Viagra sales totaled $1.7 billion, including $800 million in the United States.

Maxine Thomas, an executive at Taxi, the agency in Toronto that produced the campaign, said the ads take advantage of Viagra’s name recognition. “It’s not as though we need to tell people what it does, because they already know,” she said. “Consumers can fill in the blank for themselves.”

To read the full article: Minky Viagra? Pfizer Doesn%u2019t Want You to Understand It, Just Buy It – New York Times

About this entry