Viagra: There’s Something Different About This New Ad For The Popular Men’s Medication

Viagra, a drug invented to solve a particular problem experienced by some males, has a problem of its own. Sales of the blue pills, currently priced at $35 each, slipped by 8 percent last year — and three years from now, the Pfizer Corporation’s patent on the still-extremely-popular prescription medication will expire.

That means any drug company will be able to manufacture sildenafil citrate, which is the generic name for Viagra. Once that happens, Pfizer will be forced to drop its prices, probably drastically, just to compete in the market for this specific type of medication.

Of course, the type of medication in question here is the type designed to treat “ED,” or erectile dysfunction. But despite the purpose its product, Pfizer’s Viagra advertising had always taken the coy approach, appealing more to man’s vague sense of masculinity than for the exact thing that they need the medication to fix.

“Viagra ads used to be about as chaste and subdued as they could be,” wrote AdWeek magazine, the bible of the advertising business, describing one earlier Viagra ad that “keeps the focus on some guy and his sailboat. No women in that dude’s crew. Not even a mermaid off the starboard bow.”

No more. This new Viagra ad not only features a woman front and center, but there’s not a single man in the whole minute-long ad. And this blonde, blue-eyed woman with a posh British accent takes an approach that for a Viagra ad is uncharacteristically blunt to say the least.

“So guys, it’s just you and your honey. The setting is perfect. But then erectile dysfunction happens again,” says the new Viagra spokesmodel. “Plenty of guys have this issue — not just getting an erection, but keeping it.”

Yes, you read that right. Viagra has been on the market since 1998 and has always been known for its relentless TV ad campaigns. But this Viagra ad is the very first to actually use the word “erection,” other than in the side-effects warnings.

In other words, if you were confused about what Viagra actually does, you’re not confused anymore.

The new female-centered Viagra ad campaign represents a last-ditch effort for Pfizer to boost its Viagra sales — which peaked in 2008 at almost $2 billion — milking as much revenue out of the drug before its patent expires by appealing directly to women, who presumably will then encourage their partners to try Viagra.

What do you think of the new Viagra ad? Is its approach too direct? Or is it about time Viagra ads just say what they mean?