Pharmas Market with Mike Huckman

Does Glaxo's Ad Campaign Suck Or What?

It's New Year's resolution time, so it's no surprise to see a sudden increase in commercials and ads for stop-smoking products. Pfizer's been heavily pushing its challenged Chantix and the other day I saw a commercial for GlaxoSmithKline's Nicorette that nearly made my jaw drop.


I'm not a prude, but I was kind of shocked at what I saw and heard from this monolithic, conservative pharmaceutical company.

The new tagline is, "Nicorette makes quitting suck less." Wow. "Suck" makes its way into a primetime commercial for a big pharma product.

Who'da thunk it?

I mean, the CEO won't even do a TV interview for crying out loud because he's supposedly uncomfortable in front of the camera, but he'll greenlight a prominent ad campaign with the word "suck" in it? Gimme a break.

Glaxo says it sold $128 million dollars worth of "nicotene replacement therapy" products in the third quarter of this year. That's a relatively small number, but not necessarily immaterial. It's also down from $157 million in the third quarter last year when the company broke them out as "smoking cessation products." I don't know what the semantic change was all about. But it would totally suck for GSK if Nicorette sales went down again, especially at a time of year when nicotene replacement therapy and smoking cessation product sales tend to go up.

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