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MARION MERRELL DOW CONSUMER's NICORETTE PRODUCT-SPECIFIC TV AD

Executive Summary

MARION MERRELL DOW CONSUMER's NICORETTE PRODUCT-SPECIFIC TV AD will begin airing on Dec. 27 on the ABC and CBS television networks. The 15-second spot for the prescription nicotine-containing smoking cessation gum will run during early evening news and late night news time slots. CBS will air the spot without changes. After some consideration, ABC agreed to air the brandname commercial on the condition that a broad side effect statement be shown on the bottom of the TV screen. According to Marion Merrell Dow, the statement will convey a general message such as: "all prescription drugs can potentially cause side effects." NBC declined to accept the commercial because the network has a blanket policy against running direct-to-consumer ads for prescription drugs, Merrell Dow said. The Nicorette commercial is a follow-up to product-specific print ads that began running in June in USA Today, Parade and People magazines ("The Pink Sheet" June 26, T&G-6). The "ask your doctor about Nicorette" print ads broke new ground for Marion Merrell Dow in the area of consumer advertising. The ads, which included prescribing information, were the company's first to mention a prescription drug by name. The budget for the consumer print and television advertising campaign is less than $ 3 mil. The ad agency is Rubin, Gace & Associates, New York City. FDA was asked to provide input on the design of the Nicorette-specific television ad from its conception stage to the final version, Marion Merrell Dow said. The advertisement is not required to provide prescribing information, because it does not disclose the drug's indication. The company noted that FDA considers the commercial to be a "reminder ad," an advertisement directed at a specific audience that introduces a prescription drug. The 15-second segment shows two pieces of chewing gum while a voice-over says: "This is Nicorette. Nicorette is nicotine gum." Then a package of Nicorette is shown and the ads says: "And Nicorette is available only from your doctor. Ask your doctor whether Nicorette is right for you."

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