ACA fuming over Zyban spots

A 'health vignette' sponsored by the smoking-cessation drug Zyban on the CTV television network is drawing fire from the Association of Canadian Advertisers concerned about the increase in advertising clutter on TV. Both Glaxo Wellcome, the maker of Zyban, and CTV,...

A ‘health vignette’ sponsored by the smoking-cessation drug Zyban on the CTV television network is drawing fire from the Association of Canadian Advertisers concerned about the increase in advertising clutter on TV.

Both Glaxo Wellcome, the maker of Zyban, and CTV, which produced the spots, maintain the material constitutes original sponsored programming and is not paid advertising.

Nonetheless, the ACA believes the material is serving to draw viewer attention away from paid ads . ‘While (the interstitial) may not be a commercial, it is tantamount to a commercial interruption and adds to the clutter,’ says Bob Reaume, vice-president media and research for the ACA.

Meanwhile, Health Canada is currently reviewing the 30-second interstitial, which features people talking about the difficulties of stopping smoking, to determine if it contravenes Canada’s ban on direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising (see Strategy, Mar. 13, ’00).

Under current regulations, Canadian broadcasters can only air 12 minutes of non-programming content per hour. However, according to research from the ACA, most broadcasters regularly exceed that limit.

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