Transforming a taboo topic into a social phenomenon.
How do you start a conversation around a health issue that is difficult to talk about? After the chance discovery of a new drug that could cure male impotence, Pfizer needed to develop a brand to take it to market in a way that felt accessible to customers and credible to the medical profession. We worked with patients and doctors to create a brand that included the now iconic name and even informed the shape and color of the pill. The name “Viagra” was chosen for its references to vigor, strength and quality of life. When the product was launched in March 1998, it transformed a taboo subject into a treatable medical problem, leading to an extraordinary social phenomenon. By the December of that year, almost 100 million pills with an approximate value of $788 million had been sold in the United States, with Newsweek labeling Viagra the “hottest new drug in history almost everywhere in the world”. Since then, that “chance discovery” and the accessibility of the brand has provided Pfizer with more than $17,000 million, making it the fifth most profitable company in the US. Today, it has generated billions in global sales.