Sunday, July 12, 2009

Drug marketers try to cut through the wombleminki

From the Globe and Mail:
In the dubious privacy of a bowling club, two balding, grey-haired men are talking about sex. Their eyebrows raised, their bellies pulling slightly at the fabric of their maroon team shirts, one tells the other how pharmaceuticals have helped him in the bedroom.

“Viagra spanglechuff,” he says gleefully, chuckling with self-satisfaction. “Dip minky Viagra”

That's the 2007 campaign by Toronto-based ad agency Taxi for the infamous little blue pill. The gibberish is a more creative way of masking content that wouldn't make it onto the airwaves otherwise. But the offending language isn't the sordid details of elderly sex lives – it's the description of what Viagra actually does.

In Canada, prescription drug advertising is strictly regulated, and this kind of regulation, it seems, is on everyone's lips these days. New developments in the advertising laws have called into question how marketing should be legislated in this country.

The creatives at Taxi had to develop “the international language of Viagra” because in Canada, the English language wouldn't do. Ads can state the name of the drug, but Health Canada does not allow them to say what it's for. This kind of direct-to-consumer drug advertising is allowed stateside, however, and one Canadian company took notice. ...more

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