Advertising and marketing erectile dysfunction medication has always led to some incredibly
Because the subject matter is far too often something people do not want to talk about, let alone see
on their TV screens, companies that sell ED medication tend to be rather creative in their
approaches to ensure men that need it can order sildenafil online or over the counter.
The most recent example of this is Numan, which got right to the point with a euphemism-laced
half-minute, with the tagline “call it what you want”.
However, ever since the FDA approved Viagra in 1998 we have seen so many different approaches
to advertising, ED medication to get around advertising guidelines.
The First Viagra Adverts
After Pfizer stumbled on a proven, effective treatment for ED almost by accident, the next issue was
how they were going to market it to people.
Their initial approach was to simply be honest with people. Too many men had suffered from
silence, not treating ED as a condition with a treatment pathway but as something to be ashamed of,
and Pfizer treated their new blue pill as a way to break that silence.
The first two adverts for Viagra were arguably two of the most famous, featuring two spokesmen
that people at the time didn’t expect to talk about ED.
Bob Dole, a former presidential candidate had a remarkably and refreshingly honest advert where
he defined ED at a time when there was far less knowledge on the topic and discussed the various
causes that were known at the time.
The other, almost diametrically opposite to Mr Dole was charismatic and highly decorated
footballer Pelé, who triumphantly told people “Talk to your doctor; I would!”
Viagra adverts were handled with sensitivity and grace at this point that would not last very long.
The Viagra Racing Team
In the early 2000s, the motorsport series NASCAR was at its peak. A highly aggressive, adrenaline-fuelled sport, NASCAR was an ideal series to advertise ED medication and highlight how normal a treatment it was by this point.
To that end, Pfizer sponsored Mark Martin, who appeared in an advert for the blue pill driving a
blue and white car with the Viagra logo all over it, before a man in a racing suit asks who you
expected to see, Bob Dole?
His number 6 race car was sponsored by Viagra for years and may have helped raise awareness of
the drug in the United States as it was moving from innovation to essential medicine for many
Other Major Adverts
In the UK it was difficult to advertise erectile dysfunction medication since medicines only
available on prescription could not be directly advertised to people.
This meant that there were nearly twenty years of adverts for ED medication before the over-the-counter Viagra Connect was released, which could be advertised.
The advert that followed this was what could be seen as the standard format for an ED medication
It had a slightly older gentleman dancing, smiling and being very close to his partner who is also
smiling, whilst a classic rock song (in this case, Make Me Smile by Steve Harley and Cockney
It only becomes clear that the advert is for Viagra after a voice-over talks about ED, but it has
already highlighted the feeling someone should expect when they take it.