Friday, January 23, 2009
The clip features a middle-aged man who takes a pill from a package on his kitchen counter. He immediately starts to tug at something in his mouth – which viewers soon realize is a tail – and pulls out a huge dead rat. Pfizer created the ad campaign to warn about the risks of buying counterfeit medicines from websites and other unregulated sources. It takes a couple viewings – you can see it here at Pfizer's web site or here on youtube – to catch that message though. The rat is pretty distracting.
We first saw the ad over at Bnet Pharma, where Jim Edwards astutely wonders whether there's some sort of double standard at play. Pharma Marketing Blog and Mike Huckman at CNBC have also picked up the story, and Drug Channels has pointed out that Pfizer's other main target--besides counterfeiters and dodgy web sites hawking little blue diamond pills--is the parallel import trade (you can find some of our analysis on that topic here and here).
Pfizer told us the piece will run across 2,651 screens in about 600 cinemas from Jan. 16 to March 5. The company notes that due to its graphic nature, the ad was classified as a 15 so children under 15 should not watch it. Good luck keeping adolescent boys from watching this.
“The advert has been developed in direct response to new research highlighting that more than 330,000 men purchase prescription only medicines from unregulated sources, such as Internet sites, every year in the UK,” Pfizer states in a release. The company collaborated on the ad campaign with the U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, The Patients Association, Mean’s Health Forum and H.E.A.R.T. UK.--Brenda Sandburg
image of Banksy rat mural in NYC by flickr user caruba