ST. LOUIS: Kupper Parker Communications (KPC) has won a $20 million account to launch an over-the-counter topical fluid for female sexual dysfunction.
The agency becomes the marketing AOR for QualiLife Pharmaceuticals' Zestra and will provide both ad and PR support. About half of the budget is devoted to media outreach over an unspecified length of time.
Zestra, which had only been available through the QualiLife website, will soon be sold in two drug-store chains. Five more sales deals are expected to be in place over the next few months.
To secure national distribution in such a short period "is unheard of for a small company," said Martin Crosby, the company's president and chief scientific officer.
"Zestra [will] take the market by storm," he said. "We needed a firm that had a lot of experience in women's health and consumer products."
KPC will target local and national media, as well as medical trades, said Emily Ross, KPC account supervisor.
It also will arrange speaking opportunities for QualiLife executives to discuss the peer-reviewed medical research on Zestra at medical conferences and other meetings.
KPC won a competitive pitch against about six firms.
"Sexual health is very important to women," Ross said. "What we're finding is that there's a great deal of interest" from consumer media.
Crosby noted that the media do tend to liken Zestra and similar products to Pfizer's culturally iconic Viagra.
But he added that, in the past year, both Pfizer and Procter & Gamble have either abandoned plans or failed to get regulatory approval for hormone-based therapies for women.
"There's a lot of concern about the chronic use of hormones, and Zestra doesn't have hormones," he said.