Pharmas Market with Mike Huckman

Stations Nix Nicorette's 'Sucky' Ad Copy

GlaxoSmithKline can fuggedaboutit. If New York radio listeners have a problem with the company's new ad campaign for Nicorette, then how will it possibly play in Peoria?

NYC newsradio powerhouse WCBS 880 and/or its listeners apparently has/have an issue with the word "suck" in the edgy spots that I've been bloggingabout over the past few weeks. Rather than saying, "2010 is going to suck," the announcer now reads, "2010 isn't gonna be much fun." A listener tipped me off about it.


I've seen the commercials and ads containing the "S" word on TV and in mainstream, family publications like "Parade" and "Entertainment Weekly" magazines.

Radio listeners all over the country may be familiar with Westwood One , which provides all sorts of news, sports, weather and commuter content to more than 2,300 stations under the brand names of Shadow Traffic or Metro Traffic. Their reporters and announcers read live ad copy that's embedded in their on-air cut-ins.

WWON spokesperson Christine Miller told me "some" Westwood One stations (she didn't have the specific number at her fingertips just yet) pushed back about the language. "As soon as we get complaints from a station we change it out to the alternate copy. We don't make the decision on what runs and doesn't run on any station. It's the station, not us, that does that. They're the ones that get the calls and we change it out. Our anchors know that if they get complaints that they'll get new copy right away," Miller said. She added that Westwood One notified Chiat/Day, the ad agency that produced the GSK Nicorette campaign, about the complaints, but didn't consult the agency on the new language.

Despite all that, I don't think GSK is gonna spike the campaign. Something tells me this is exactly the kind of buzz GSK and Chiat/Day, which has a rep for pushing the edge of the envelope, were going for.

By the way, I just got word that GSK CEO Andrew Witty will be doing his first ever interview with me live from the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference next Tuesday. Now, that doesn't suck.

Update: Westwood One spokesperson Christine Miller got back to me today with the number of stations that have protested, so far. It's six. To put that in perspective, Miller said the spots, which only started airing earlier this week, are running in more than a hundred markets.

(Disclosure: CNBC Radio syndicates business news reports through Westwood One.)

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