Pfizer Gets Playful With Viagra Ads

Pfizer is going with the playful approach in a new spot for Viagra that that features its take on Elvis Presley's "Viva Las Vegas." And while the Food and Drug Administration yanked their "Wild Thing" ads off the air three years, they got the Feds' blessing in advance this time around.

The 60-second spot from McCann Erickson, which rolled out this week, revolves around a band of middle-aged men playing "Viva Viagra." Pfizer says the ad did well in a test: "The goal of these ads is to take that upbeat tone and positive approach and motivate men to engage in a dialogue with their physicians," says Pfizer spokesman Francisco Gebauer. "It's extremely motivating."

But the ad has upset some groups, including the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which charges that the pharmaceutical giant promotes the drug for recreational use. Print ads will follow the TV spot, which debuted on "NBC Nightly News." Viagra still holds a better than 50% market share, but that has been cut into by newer drugs like Cialis and Levitra -- and Viagra's sales have stagnated, while the other two are growing.

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