Pfizer - Puffery Or Deception – Essay Example
Question Advertising, especially celebrity endorsement is a kind where the choice of the celebrity has to be judicious as the audience is going to connect itself with the characteristics of the celebrity. In case of Pfizer’s Lipitor ads, use of Dr. Robert Jarvik as an endorser seems to be a sales pushing move. Even if he is associated with a unique invention of artificial heart, being a pharmaceutical company, Pfizer had to be accountable in its selection. He did not hold any practicing license and had no experience in the usage of Lipitor or related patient cases. As such, associating a person with a different product just to push the sales was enough to result in a public and legal brouhaha.
Pfizer’s deceptive advertising promoted features of Lipitor drug that were actually not associated or scientifically proved by research. It was just an attempt to cash in the success of Dr. Jarvik and enhance the sales of Lipitor on the grounds that its usage reduces chances of cardiovascular diseases.
When talking of pharma products, audience generally wants to see real life examples of people whose lives has been bettered by the usage of the particular drug, along with backing of scientific data. Pfizer, being a global pharma giant, should also take this consumer psyche into consideration. This is also required because effects of pharma products vary with individuals and to communicate the reality to the consumers, it is important that not only the standard features but also any side effects are made aware to the consumers to get away with any legal or social uproar.
There exists a fine line between puffery and deception. In both these cases, features or characteristics are advertised that are actually not present and they are born of seller’s opinions. If standard attributes are promoted aggressively and claimed as best, it can be termed puffery with an intention to increase demand and hype sales. However, if the product claims to have totally different set of attributes than the ones for which it was approved by the respective authorities, it falls into the category of outright deception. Deceptive advertising is likely to result in injuries and greater harms to consumers (Richards 19).
Richards, Jef.I. Deceptive Advertising: Behavioral Study of a Legal Concept. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers, 1990.