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Update: Lipitor ads featuring Jarvik stunt double pulled

By February 27, 2008June 28th, 20213 Comments

In Lipitor Pitchman Jarvik Rows Into the Sunset, The Wall Street Journal reports that after pressure from Congress, Pfizer is yanking their ads featuring Dr. Robert Jarvik rowing on a pristine lake, when in fact, a stunt double was used.

Here’s my post from February 8th, Advertising stunt double lands Pfizer in the congressional crosshairs.


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  • Patrick –

    Jarvik actually can row, so the use of a stunt double is not as much of a problem as you might think. Given a cold body of water and nervous insurers, I can see why they wouldn’t want him out there.

    As described in a Bloomberg interview, “Jarvik said he didn’t row the boat in the commercial himself because he could have drowned within minutes from hypothermia if he had fallen into the 40 degree water. He said he spent time rowing during summer vacations in high school and trained to row for the commercial shoot.”

    The more disconcerting ethical lapse was Pfizer’s insistence on describing Jarvik in early campaign ads as the “inventor of the artificial heart”. Since patents for the artificial heart were filed while Jarvik was still a child, this claim is patently not credible.

    Indeed, his research colleagues rebelled at Jarvik’s ego overreach and more recent ads in the campaign describe him merely as the “inventor of the Jarvik artificial heart”.

    Original campaign:

    Amended campaign:

    All the Jarvik online ads are here:

  • That’s good information. Most of the news outlets used the “He’s about as much an outdoorsman as Woody Allen. He can’t row” quote attributed to Texas Heart Institute collaborator Dr. O. H. Frazier.

    It’s catchy so I can see why.

    The semantics regarding the “Jarvik artificial heart” v. “inventor of the artificial heart” claims are pretty disconcerting.

    Thanks for the additional clarification!

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