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New ED Ads Take Different, Less Sexy Approach

  • Ad Age, Thursday, March 30, 2006 11:45 AM
Television spots for erectile dysfunction drugs are back on the air, but they're not quite as suggestive or sexy as they were when the medication was first introduced. That's because of a backlash against the ads from critics who claimed the old ads presented drugs like Cialis, Levitra, and Viagra as a risqué lifestyle choice rather than treatment for health problem. As a result, pharmaceutical marketers bent to the pressure and stopped running the ads; TV spots for branded ED drugs have not run for almost a year. But the market is still a huge one with big potential for growth, so drug makers are coming back to the airwaves with a decidedly different approach. For example, a new ad for Levitra shows two men talking about ED being connected to other medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. The old Levitra spots featured a women dressed in a man's shirt talking about her mate's newfound prowess. That campaign "was all about sex and not about health care," Levitra marketer GlaxoSmithKline spokeswoman Nancy Leone said. "This [new] campaign gives credibility to ED as a medical condition as opposed to the old ads, which increased the stigma about ED."



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