Viagra enlists Porter Novelli to boost sales

Drugs giant Pfizer has appointed Porter Novelli as its lead global PR agency for miracle impotence cure Viagra.

Drugs giant Pfizer has appointed Porter Novelli as its lead global PR agency for miracle impotence cure Viagra.

Pfizer confirmed it looked at four agencies and had narrowed its choices to Porter Novelli and BSMG Worldwide, before choosing PN late on Monday in New York.

Details are sketchy with Pfizer remaining tight-lipped about the content of the brief it had issued. PRWeek understands the work to involve a US, European and Asian element. It is not thought to affect the relationship Viagra has in the UK with healthcare agency Avenue HKN.

Edelman PR Worldwide, Ruder Finn and Chandler Chicco have all worked on various stages of Viagra's development.

During the pitch, PN and BSMG were tested for global capacity, media relations, team assimilation and response to a fictitious assignment.

Pfizer's agency search came after news of favourable clinical trials on Viagra rival Cialis, developed by Eli Lilly, which could present competition for Viagra if it earns Federal Drugs Administration approval in the US.

'With a strong competitor coming into this market everything is going to change,' said Lynn Vos, president and CEO of Grey Healthcare Group, which is handling the branding for Cialis.

Results of the study were reported at the World Meeting on Impotence Research in Perth, Australia. It found that Cialis, 'caused less facial flushing and visual disturbances than Viagra,' and that it may have fewer cardiovascular side effects.

Viagra has been a huge success for Pfizer. In a recent statement, the company said: 'Viagra sales will increase by an estimated 31 per cent worldwide in 2000, with over 10 million men treated in over 100 countries where Viagra has been approved.'



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