Pfizer invents a new language in Canadian Viagra reminder ads

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Pfizer has introduced a new 15-second TV ad for Viagra in Canada featuring middle aged men talking in a made-up language, except for the drug’s brand name, The New York Times reports. “Viagra spanglecheff,” says a man to a friend at a bowling alley. “Spanglecheff?” his friend asks. “Minky Viagra noni noni boo-boo plats,” the first man replies. The ads end with the slogan “The International Language of Viagra.” Maxine Thomas, an executive at Taxi, the agency in Toronto that produced the campaign told The Times “It’s not as though we need to tell people what it does, because they already know,” she said. “Consumers can fill in the blank for themselves.” In the US and Canada, pharmaceutical companies can advertise medicines in “reminder ads” without discussing side effects, as long as they do not mention the condition the drug is supposed to treat. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, said the new Viagra ads are also a reminder that drug companies will say anything, even if it is incomprehensible, to boost sales. “In an ideal world, companies would have to sell drugs based on accurate and balanced information,” Wolfe said. “That doesn’t seem to work well enough, so instead of that they’re substituting gibberish.”

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