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Breast Implant Ads Go Prime Time

August 04, 2004|From Reuters

A flash of Janet Jackson's breast on national TV may have launched a thousand complaints, but medical device maker Mentor Corp. believes breast implant marketing is ready for U.S. prime time.

Mentor will produce its first prime-time advertisements this fall on ABC's plastic surgery show "Extreme Makeover."

"It's a first for prime time and it's the biggest marketing program for Mentor Aesthetics this year," said Sara DeRousse, director of global marketing at Santa Barbara-based Mentor.

DeRousse said Mentor would produce six commercials to market its saline implants during "Extreme Makeover," a reality show in which applicants endure multiple surgeries in a bid for beauty.

"We strive to create a classy, elegant ad that directs patients to where they can get general information. It's not intended to be a sexy ad," she said.

The U.S. advertising industry has broken its share of taboos in recent years, even hawking erectile dysfunction treatments during the Super Bowl. Mentor has advertised in magazines and five years ago ran commercials on daytime television.

Mentor said this week that sales of its "breast aesthetic" product line -- the company's largest business segment -- climbed 16% in the fiscal first quarter, which ended June 30.

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