SBJ/February 2 - 8, 2004/Sports Spots

Sports Spots: "Iron Mike"

Client: Levitra/GlaxoSmithKline and Bayer

Agency: The Quantum Group, Parsippany, N.J.

Principals: Not available

Media buy: Various male-targeted programming, especially NFL games, in support of Levitra's NFL corporate sponsorship

Summary: Inside the new Soldier Field and around logo-less football players, NFL hall of famer Mike Ditka preaches the virtue of the new Viagra competitor with forgettable lines like "Every coach knows the ability to stay in the game is what counts."


Grades

D for overall creative. Ditka required some extra scratch to get him to switch from PR only to doing TV ads for Levitra. Maybe he should have stayed on the sidelines. The earlier commercial, sans Ditka but with the not-so-subtle imagery of a football thrown though a tire swing, was atrocious, although as the NFL's official ball licensee, Wilson gained considerable exposure. Both ads are bad enough to confirm our suspicion that given all the legal restrictions it operates under, pharmaceutical marketing is an oxymoron.

F for use of sports as a marketing vehicle. We're still trying to figure out why GSK/Bayer is paying the NFL $6 million a year for exclusive NFL rights, unless it's simply to keep competitors Viagra and Cialis out. Nothing in Levitra's TV ads except the Wilson/NFL football and the "Proud Sponsor of the NFL" graphic utilize league-owned intellectual property. At press time, competitors Cialis and Viagra were scheduled to advertise on the Super Bowl. So what's GSK/Bayer getting for its money, other than Super Bowl tickets?

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