by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
(April 30, 2008) Parents who are fed up with watching ads about erectile dysfunction during family viewing time have had their concerns brought to the makers of Viagra during a recent Pfizer Shareholder meeting.
Glen Erickson, Director of Corporate Relations for the Parents Television Council (PTC) addressed Pfizer shareholders during a meeting held in Memphis on August 24 and expressed concern over the placement of Viagra commercials.
“Pfizer has helped countless individuals and families live healthier, happier lives and for that we salute you and look forward to future innovations, but I ask today, on behalf of our 1.2 million members, to please be discreet in scheduling your ‘Viva Viagra’ campaign ads on television,” Erickson said.
“I’m sure you’ll agree that parents need to monitor and control what their children are watching but your commercial advertising offers no indication as to where these spots will suddenly appear. Moreover, because of the sheer volume of advertising weight that Pfizer supports this particular brand with, it is virtually impossible for a parent to identify what shows will have kid safe commercials.”
Erickson pointed out that the ads recently appeared during NCAA basketball, ABC World News, and on family networks such as TV Land and the Discovery Channel. Even though the ads are clearly targeting men, Pfizer needs to appreciate the fact that children are also watching those programs.
“We receive e-mails, letters and phone calls on nearly a daily basis asking the PTC to address their concerns with you,” Erickson said. “Parents are feeling powerless and find themselves addressing personal parenting issues at a time and place that seem to be dictated by these ED ads. Your spots, when viewed by children, are at least confusing if not upsetting and embarrassing to all family members trying to watch TV together.”
He concluded by pleading with the company to demonstrate some level of discretion as to where and when these ads are airing.
After the meeting, Pfizer executives agreed to meet with the PTC in May for further discussion.
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