McGarryBowen lands consumer advertising business for Chantix

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Pfizer moved the consumer advertising business for Chantix to McGarryBowen, ending McCann HumanCare's contract on the smoking cessation drug.

The McCann consumer shop, which has handled the Chantix account since the brand's launch, retains account duties on Pfizer's Viagra, Aricept, Detrol and Toviaz, and will continue working on Wyeth's OTC products Centrum and Caltrate, now under the Pfizer umbrella. Branded print and banner ads from McCann's Chantix campaign, featuring a tortoise and hare motif, will continue to run through the first quarter of 2009, according to Sally Beatty, director of worldwide communications at Pfizer.

The shift was first reported by AdWeek, which noted that Pfizer spent nearly $60 million marketing Chantix during the first 11 months of 2008. A Pfizer spokesperson told Adweek that McGarryBowen “presented us with very innovative ideas that we feel best meet the needs of this brand at this time.”

McCann is part of Interpublic. McGarryBowen was acquired by Tokyo-based holding company Dentsu in November. 

Chantix won FDA approval in May 2006. Consumer ads launched in September 2007, advising smokers that quitting “is not a challenge for sprinters.” Pfizer pulled the campaign the following January amid concerns about possible psychiatric side effects, but reintroduced the work, with longer 90-second TV spots, nine months later. Risk information took up about half of the lengthened spot, including a warning that patients should stop taking Chantix if they experience agitation or suicidal impulses, and the ads emphasized the brand's GetQuit support program.

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