Historical Advertising: Viagra

So much work was put into a product: what the goal is, how to go about achieving the said goal, how the product looks, the packaging, and even the product name. Now the perfect product is done, ready to hit the shelves- but how do people find out about it? Advertisement.

The key part of any product of advertisement, for it can make or break a good. Some products are terrible, but the advertising is done so well that people end up buying it. On the other hand, some products are perfect. In fact, way too perfect that the producers feel overly confident about their product that they find it no reason to advertise it, yet people have no idea that the good is in the market that it ends up not selling. A producer needs to find a good measure of advertisement to make their product really flourish.

Researching online, three distinct Viagra advertisements popped out from the rest. They each have a unique quality that differentiates them from regular ads, and that is their biggest selling point. Viagra isn’t a regular drug, its somewhat awkward to talk about openly, so the advertisements for it must combat this awkwardness, and they do it well.

First there is an billboard ad from Viagra that came out in 2000, just 5 years after the drug hit the market. This ad is interesting for it doesn’t try to sell you the product, it just congratulates BET for changing the world, and claims that they also think that “change is good.” This is interesting because it is less than an advertisement and more of a response to the natural controversy that the drug arouses. It speaks to the audience, those who are on the fence or scared to try the drug. It shows them that change is not something to fear, rather something to congratulate about. It calls on pathos, for the audience also wants to be congratulated for taking part of “change”, just like BET was.

Following that, there is the simple advertisement from 1999 found in magazines. The ad showcases big, gold letters in simple font, against a black background, that reads, “Hey, who needs Viagra…” This artwork is simple and ambiguous, and that’s why it’s so effective. It audience is immense. By not limiting the advertisement to a demographic, socioeconomic level, age, or gender, it appeals to almost everyone. Also, the language used is very personal. It can be felt as if it’s one of your friends offering something.

The next advertisement is different for its a TV commercial called Cuddle Up that came out earlier this year. It’s more contemporary than the others, but it sets itself apart from all other Viagra commercials. It features a woman. Yes, a woman. Usually the norm of Viagra commercials are middle-aged to older men in a very rustic setting doing manly things. However, this is a fairly young (or at least young looking) woman lying in bed and touching up her hair and makeup. She talks directly to the audience as if she is telling us a secret. This shoots up pathos through the roof, for it makes the audience feel connect to this woman, makes them feel as if they’re friends gossiping about something. The audience for this is mostly woman, which is a innovative move on Viagra’s part. Men can also be considered an audience for this commercial since she is a pretty woman, but it’s made mostly for women.

These three advertisements are all unique and stand out, but they each lack something essential. The first ad, with congratulation to BET, it doesn’t advertise the actual product at all. If the audience had no idea what Viagra was, they wouldn’t be able to tell what the product is, much less what it does. This undermines the logos of the advertisement, for it is not advertising anything concrete. It’s like an inside joke, only people that have some sort of background knowledge know that they’re talking about. The simple, bold advertisement suffers from the same fatal flaw. There is no ‘so what’? These ads are so open ended and ambiguous that almost anything can be inferred from them. Lastly, the woman commercial seems effective, for she is straight, to the point, and informative. However, just showing a person getting ready to go out doesn’t gather that much ethos. It would be more effective if it also showcased some scientists in lab coats working on the “little blue pill”.

Overall Viagra does a decent jobs with its advertisements and its products. There are many other pills that do the same thing, such as Wildman-X, Extendor, Lightning Rod, Betterman, Erectinol, Cockstar, Horny Goat Weed, and many, many more. However, Viagra has such a dominance over the market that most people don’t even know that the pill isn’t called Viagra, that’s the company’s name. There are some improvements to make on the advertisement of Viagra, but the company is doing a very well as it is.

Works Cited

“THE VIAGRA TEAM.” Billboard (Archive: 1963-2000) Apr 22 2000ProQuest. Web. 29 Nov. 2014 .

http://search.proquest.com.proxy.library.emory.edu/eima/docview/1506011687/8A6646002F7F4FC6PQ/6?accountid=10747

“Hey, Who Needs Viagra..” Broadcasting & Cable (Archive: 1993-2000) Oct 18 1999: 0-0_2. ProQuest. Web. 29 Nov. 2014 .

http://search.proquest.com.proxy.library.emory.edu/eima/docview/1014774236/8A6646002F7F4FC6PQ/2?accountid=10747

Viagra. “Cuddle Up”. Advertisement. 12 Apr. 2012. Television.

http://www.viagra.com/viagra-tv-commercial.aspx

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