McCann tipped to win Pfizer’s controversial Viagra account

McCann-Erickson has been tipped to land Pfizer’s controversial pan-European Viagra account.

Reliable industry sources say McCann has been awarded the business, despite denials by New York-based consultancy Advice & Advisors, which handled the pitch.

McCann’s London office also denies a decision has been reached.

At least two other mainstream agencies, rather than healthcare specialists, are believed to have taken part in the pitch, which has been shrouded in secrecy.

The campaign is expected to break new ground by targeting consumers rather than the medical profession.

The brief set agencies the task of overcoming a EU directive banning prescription-only drugs from being advertised direct to the public.

It also asked them to address Viagra’s image problem and attempt to make it a serious issue for debate.

The pitching agencies were expected to get round the EU ban by focusing on symptoms and advising people to seek advice from their GP.

US advertising for Viagra, by Cline Davis & Mann, was worth $73m (£45m) in the first ten months of 1999, according to Competitive Media Reporting. It is not known how much will be spent on a campaign in Europe.

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