Pharma branding that signals spirit of austerity

Sometime companies dabbling with branding just try too hard. GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer announced a joint venture for all their HIV products last April, but only this week launched it – and announced the name: ViiV Healthcare.

The idea? It contains bits of the words Virus and HIV, sounds like life in French (the mother tongue of its new chief executive) and it’s a palindrome – handily reflecting its two corporate shareholders (though Pfizer only holds 15 per cent).

It may not roll off the tongue, but at least its creation reflects the new spirit of austerity. It was dreamed up in-house, with no expensive brand consultant brought in. It’s at least no worse than many such costly offerings.

Now all the company has to do is deliver new drugs.

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Margaret McCartney is a Glasgow-based GP and FT Weekend columnist. She started writing for the Life and Arts section in 2005 and moved to the magazine in 2008. She also has her own blog: www.margaretmccartney.com/blog

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