Pfizer seeks a suitor for Viagra PR account

NEW YORK: For the first time, Pfizer is seeking a global agency of record for Viagra, with finalists Porter Novelli and BSMG Worldwide pitching for the blockbuster drug account in presentations last week.

NEW YORK: For the first time, Pfizer is seeking a global agency of record for Viagra, with finalists Porter Novelli and BSMG Worldwide pitching for the blockbuster drug account in presentations last week.

NEW YORK: For the first time, Pfizer is seeking a global agency of record for Viagra, with finalists Porter Novelli and BSMG Worldwide pitching for the blockbuster drug account in presentations last week.

The company confirmed that it had looked at four agencies and had narrowed its choices to PN and BSMG.

Edelman, Ruder Finn and Chandler Chicco have all worked on various stages of Viagra's development but none was the worldwide agency of record. Robinson Lerer & Montgomery also handled corporate work for Viagra.

PN and BSMG were tested for global capacity, global media relations, team assimilation and ideas, and their response to a fictitious assignment.

A decision could be made as early as next week.

Pfizer's agency search comes on the heels of news that Phase II clinical trials on a rival to Viagra were favorable. Cialis, which is being developed by Eli Lilly, could present major competition for Viagra if it earns FDA approval.

'With a second very 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. 'It's going to be very difficult and challenging.'

Results of the study were reported in December 2000 at the World Meeting on Impotence Research in Perth, Australia. According to a report in Marketletter, the study found that Cialis, 'caused less facial flushing and visual disturbances than Viagra,' and that it may have fewer cardiovascular side effects.

Another competitor also looms on the horizon. Bayer's vardenafil has also displayed positive results in Phase II trials.

Viagra has been a hugely successful brand for Pfizer. In a December statement, the company said, 'Viagra's sales will increase by an estimated 31% worldwide in 2000, with over 10 million men treated in over 100 countries where Viagra has been approved.'

The scientists who developed Viagra received the French Prix Galien 2000 award for making a significant contribution to the treatment of impotence.

Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, who presented the award, summed up its cultural and medical impact. 'This drug has become a household name,' he said.





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