‘The pur­suit of nor­mal': Pfiz­er launch­es first Covid-19 vac­cine TV ads

One of Pfiz­er’s new vac­cine TV com­mer­cials nev­er men­tions its vac­cine brand Comir­naty. In fact, it doesn’t men­tion vac­cines or Covid-19 at all and doesn’t show peo­ple wear­ing masks or so­cial dis­tanc­ing. Yet it’s clear the ad is talk­ing about the phar­ma’s Covid-19 vac­cines.

The ad’s voiceover talks about the un­re­mark­able mo­ments and rou­tines that mat­ter, like get­ting a cof­fee re­fill at a din­er or Sun­day gro­cery shop­ping. The im­ages shift from those every­day mo­ments to a sci­en­tists and pur­ple lid­ded glass vials spin­ning off a pro­duc­tion line and be­ing packed in­to freez­ers.

The sign-off? “At Pfiz­er, pro­tect­ing the reg­u­lar rou­tine in every day, dri­ves us to reach for ex­cep­tion­al. Work­ing to im­pact hun­dreds of mil­lions of lives young and old, it’s what we call ‘the pur­suit of nor­mal.’”

A sec­ond video ad is more overt, fea­tur­ing NBA Brook­lyn Nets play­er Bruce Brown who talks about how he’ll do “lit­er­al­ly any­thing the team needs me to do out there on the floor. So I re­al­ly can’t miss any games. When the vac­cines be­came avail­able, there was no doubt I was get­ting vac­ci­nat­ed. I was su­per ex­cit­ed be­cause my life is bas­ket­ball.”

One of the fi­nal screens shows the words “Don’t miss your shot,” fol­lowed by a screen show­ing the Nets’, Pfiz­er’s and BioN­Tech’s lo­gos. Sim­i­lar to the oth­er ad, the bas­ket­ball ad is tagged “All rights re­served. De­cem­ber 2021.”

Pfiz­er de­clined to com­ment about the new ad, cit­ing that it does not dis­cuss its mar­ket­ing strate­gies. How­ev­er, the ads are copy­right­ed Dec. 2021 and a vac­cine cam­paign had been ex­pect­ed be­fore the end of the year.

Ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports, Pfiz­er hired ad agency Ogilvy to do vac­cine ad­ver­tis­ing short­ly af­ter the shot was ap­proved by the FDA in Au­gust. The new com­mer­cial how­ev­er is tagged on iS­pot.tv as cre­at­ed by a dif­fer­ent ad agency, Young & Ru­bi­cam. Pfiz­er has used both Ogilvy and VM­LY&R for its mar­ket­ing and ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns in the past.

No mat­ter the agency, the tim­ing of vac­cine ad­ver­tis­ing syncs with FDA guide­lines that wouldn’t al­low Pfiz­er to ad­ver­tise be­fore be­ing of­fi­cial­ly ap­proved.

This sum­mer Pfiz­er ramped up its Covid-19 vac­cine sales force, the Fi­nan­cial Times re­port­ed, and post­ed ad­ver­tis­ing on LinkedIn to find a se­nior di­rec­tor to lead the US launch as well as a se­nior man­ag­er for Covid con­sumer mar­ket­ing. The job list­ing now reads as “no longer ac­cept­ing ap­pli­ca­tions.”

One TV ad first aired last Sun­day, and so far has run more than 300 times, ac­cord­ing to da­ta from re­al-time TV ad track­er iS­pot.tv.

Pfiz­er ex­pects Comir­naty sales of more than $36 bil­lion in 2021. It fore­cast­ed ad­di­tion­al sales of $29 bil­lion in 2022 in No­vem­ber, based on 1.7 bil­lion dos­es sold — al­though it has the ca­pac­i­ty to pro­duce 4 bil­lion. It’s al­ready in the process of sign­ing more deals with more coun­tries for 2022.

Some may won­der with sales like that why even both­er mar­ket­ing. It may seem like a waste of re­sources, and that may be true for now when Pfiz­er is the on­ly FDA-ap­proved Covid-19 vac­cine. How­ev­er, there are at least sev­en more emer­gency use vac­cines au­tho­rized around the world that are com­ing for Pfiz­er’s mar­ket share, es­pe­cial­ly in light of emerg­ing ev­i­dence that boost­er will be need­ed for some time.

Mod­er­na’s Spike­vax, J&J’s Janssen vac­cine, Novo­vax’s Nu­vax­ovid/Cov­o­vax, As­traZeneca’s Vaxzevria and Sanofi and GSK’s vac­cine will all be com­pet­ing to be­come the boost­er of choice around the world. When and if those vac­cines are ful­ly ap­proved in the US, ex­pect more mar­ket­ing and ad­ver­tis­ing as the phar­ma com­pa­nies jock­ey for po­si­tion.

And that means not just con­sumer aware­ness or even DTC ads, but al­so mon­ey spent mar­ket­ing to physi­cians to be­come the Covid vac­cine of choice with doc­tor’s of­fices like­ly de­liv­er­ing most fu­ture boost­er shots.

Alexander Lefterov/Endpoints News

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He had texted his wife, a pediatric intensive care nurse, when he got the alert that his online chart was ready. Although he saw immediately it was bad, many of the terms — peritoneal, right iliac — were inscrutable. But she was five hours downstate, at a loud group dinner the night before another daughter’s cheer competition.

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Mar­ket­ingRx roundup: Pfiz­er de­buts Pre­vnar 20 TV ads; Lil­ly gets first FDA 2022 pro­mo slap down let­ter

Pfizer debuted its first TV ad for its Prevnar 20 next-generation pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine. In the 60-second spot, several people (actor portrayals) with their ages listed as 65 or older are shown walking into a clinic as they turn to say they’re getting vaccinated with Prevnar 20 because they’re at risk.

The update to Pfizer’s blockbuster Prevnar 13 vaccine was approved in June, and as its name suggests is a vaccine for 20 serotypes — the original 13 plus seven more that cause pneumococcal disease. Pfizer used to spend heavily on TV ads to promote Prevnar 13 in 2018 and 2019 but cut back its TV budgets in the past two fall and winter seasonal spending cycles. Prevnar had been Pfizer’s top-selling drug, notching sales of just under $6 billion in 2020, and was the world’s top-selling vaccine before the Covid-19 vaccines came to market last year.

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Graphic: Alexander Lefterov for Endpoints News

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Albert Bourla (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Pfiz­er fields a CRL for a $295M rare dis­ease play, giv­ing ri­val a big head start

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Joaquin Duato, J&J CEO (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

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