Pfizer Shifts Chantix Creative Account

Pfizer is shifting creative duties on smoking-cessation drug Chantix to mcgarrybowen from McCann HumanCare, the client confirmed today.

Major media spending on the drug totaled $55 milllion in 2007 and nearly $60 million in the first 11 months of 2008, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Interpublic Group’s McCann HumanCare in New York had handled the business since 2007.

Chantix, which was approved by the Federal Drug Administration in 2006, rang up global sales of $883 million in 2007, its first full year on the market, according to a Pfizer annual report. Sales in the first three quarters of 2008 totaled $666 million, up 10 percent from the same period of 2007, Pfizer reported.

McCann and Dentsu’s mcgarrybowen are both Pfizer roster shops, with McCann also handling brands such as Viagra and Aricept. In 2004, mcgarrybowen landed creative duties on Indiplon, but two years later Pfizer exited a partnership with Neurocrine Biosciences on the sleep-remedy drug after the FDA rejected an application to release a 15-milligram formulation.

Sources said that the Chantix shift came after several meetings between client executives and mcgarrybowen here in the past few months. Mcgarrybowen and McCann referred calls to the New York-based client, who confirmed the shift, effective this month.

“The needs of the Chantix brand continue to evolve,” a Pfizer representative said. “Mcgarrybowen presented us with very innovative ideas that we feel best meet the needs of this brand at this time.”

The rep added that McCann has “helped us generate substantial awareness of Chantix. We value their partnership greatly and continue to work with them across a range of important brands.”