Viagra ads becoming more explicit

More cringing - and possibly more explanation - is in store for parents watching TV with children when the latest Viagra commercials appear on screens.

Euphemistic and delicate phrasing about erectile dysfunction by an unseen narrator?

Done and gone.

"So, guys, it's just you and your honey. The setting is perfect," says the blue-eyed blond woman with the British accent as she lies on a canopy bed with a tropical scene in the background. "But then, erectile dysfunction happens again. Plenty of guys have this issue - not just getting an erection, but keeping it. And you only take it when you need it. If ED is stopping what you started, ask your doctor about Viagra."

The new advertisements were scheduled to begin Tuesday.

Viagra is the sixth-biggest revenue generator for Pfizer Inc., which is based in Manhattan but has operations in Collegeville, Montgomery County.

A Pfizer spokesman said the TV shows chosen - including CSI, Blue Bloods, 48 Hours, and Sunday Night Football - have overwhelmingly adult audiences.

Pfizer apparently decided its previous advertising campaign, with scenes of rugged guys driving trucks or operating fishing boats, needed reworking.

Sales have been waning, too.

Worldwide revenue from Viagra was $2.05 billion in 2012, but declined to $1.88 billion in 2013, according to Pfizer's annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In the first six months of 2014, sales revenue declined 15 percent, from $945 million to $810 million, compared with the same period in 2013.

TV pitches aside, Viagra lost patent protection in most European markets in June 2013, after which generic competitors flooded the market.

In the United States, where Viagra sales increased 3 percent in the second quarter, Pfizer probably won't face generic competition in this category until 2017, when a negotiated deal with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries will allow Teva to introduce a generic version. Still, other manufacturers have developed versions of such medicine - with the corresponding TV ads - and Pfizer wants to retain as many customers as possible.

Pfizer marketing vice president Victor Clavelli told Advertising Age that most of its previous TV ads involved "subtle innuendo."

Pfizer hopes the new ads will prompt men to ask their doctors about the condition - and prompt women to encourage their male partners to have such discussions.

"No one has taken directly the perspective of a partner and used that as a way to motivate men," Clavelli said, according to Advertising Age. "We think we're doing that here."

 


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