Pfizer’s Exubera ad campaign has begun, not with a bong, but with a whimper!
July is turning out to be a cruel month for Pfizer, which just recently announced a 48% drop in net income amid predictions that sales of Exubera — its new treatment for type-2 diabetes — are far from what was expected and won’t pick up much even after DTC advertising starts (see “What do Abe Lincoln, a beaver, and a bong have in common?“).
After seeing the new Exubera ad on TV last night, I would have to agree with the above assessment. The ad neither addressed the main advantage of Exubera — it can replace the needle — nor did it educate anyone on how it is used. It never shows anyone “taking a hit” — that is, you don’t see anyone actually using the thing! Thus, it hasn’t directly confronted the main criticism a lot of people with diabetes have, which is that it is embarrassing to use in public (see “Are you happy to see me, or is that just your Exubera Bong?“).
The ad does show someone in a restaurant who has just finished using the device. It merely shows him closing it happily and from a distance so that the thing doesn’t look too huge.
In contrast to that, take a look at the following video of a news story about Exubera, which clearly shows how it is used and points out the advantage over taking insulin by needle.
Perhaps Pfizer’s PR people helped place this story. If so, the marketing people have not integrated their ad message with the PR message.
Eventually, Pfizer may fix its Exubera DTC ads and may even start a Bong Blog as I suggested half-jokingly (see “Pfizer’s Exubera Strategy Needs a Bong Blog!“). But it appears that Wall Street, not to mention type-2 diabetics, lack the patience to wait.