Pfizer's latest marketing campaign drops the ball on good taste and leaves some wondering how it ever got out of the kennel in the first place...
Despite its dubious looking name, you’ll find this URL is actually safe for work. Because, despite its “interesting” title, RimADog.com is not actually the latest, hot new site for dog-lovers - rather just a site for people who love their dogs.
Rim-A-Dog is the unfortunate name given to a marketing campaign spearheaded by Pfizer’s marketing machine to advertise their doggy drug, Rimadyl.
Regrettably for Pfizer, it seems that every single one of their marketing professionals was on leave the day they chose to name this campaign after an activity that Urban Dictionary also describes as a “K9 rim job”, as surely had they been in the office, someone might have questioned exactly what it was they were doing to dogs.
Pleasant as that might sound to some of the more radical fringes of modern society, it turns out that it’s quite far from Pfizer’s intended sales message.
Pfizer released a statement asserting that RimaDog.com provides a space where ‘pet owners can find useful information about managing osteoarthritis in dogs.’
They maintain that the ‘site has been up for some time and has provided educational value to thousands of veterinarians and pet owners whose dogs are living with osteoarthritis.’
According to the Pfizer spokesperson, they only ‘recently learned that an unintended – and unfortunate – association had been made to the Rim-A-Dog moniker.’
Pfizer regrets ‘if anyone was offended’. Although, not enough to rebrand the website or even remove the URL redirect at rimadog.com – both of which are still online for all to see. If you haven’t already left to go explore, you will find that a ‘RimaDog’ is both ‘frisky’ and ‘spunky’ (their words – not mine). You can even join the RimaDog Community – although it’s not yet confirmed what kind of community you’ll be signing up to.
Amusing as this is, there is of course a serious message at the bottom (couldn’t resist, sorry) of all this: when creating new PR campaigns it is absolutely imperative that someone is given the very basic and simple task of researching the terms that are going to be used. A quick Google search would have been all that was needed for this idea to have been abandoned.
And abandoned it should have been: contrary to the received idea that ‘all publicity is good publicity’, there are those rare occasion where you’d be better off if the ground just swallowed you up. ‘Rimadyl’ is now going to be associated in consumers’ minds with a concept that is far from its intended use.
So, lessons to be learnt for the pharma industry: learn to do the proper research before launching your campaign. It’s not hard. They really can be a pharma-man’s best friend.
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