How Much Disclaimer is Too Much?

I’m not a smoker — never have been. So when I saw this ad for Chantix, my reaction was purely academic. This is the longest, scariest disclaimer — after 17 seconds of “testimonial”, the warning language starts, and runs for more than a minute –I’ve ever seen, and my initial thought was that Pfizer was wasting its money.

I’m not disputing the need for the language — the law is the law, and if Pfizer wants to run an ad for the drug, every single word has to be there. My question was whether television is the right medium if the warning is longer than the pitch.

Two days after I saw the ad (it’s originally from 2009), I ran into a guy who had quit smoking a month before, and used Chantix to do it. He acknowledged the disclaimer, shook his head, and said, “I knew all about the side effects. But I had to quit smoking, so I was willing to take the risk.”

My sample size on this survey is currently one — one vote for “I know about the side effects, and I’m doing it anyway.” Pfizer may know what it’s doing. Feel free to check in. My only question for this exercise is its effectiveness as advertising — is the need so great, and the testimonial so powerful, that it can outweigh more than sixty seconds of warnings?

Check in below.


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