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 .


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


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


I, Robot

The talk I found to be most intriguing in class was the one about robots. When our professor showed us the website with all the different robots created many years ago, it left me in awe. In my mind, robots are contemporary, something even we now don’t fully grasp. Realizing that the whole concept of robotics actually came to fruiting many decades ago, it gave me a sense of perspective and made me realize how addicted we as humans are in trying to recreate life in our image. However nice it would be to create our mechanical brethren, I feel the complications of it were never discussed. Now you might be thinking, “ Yes it was! We watched Her,” but that movie is about a nonphysical being, while robots are very much physical. A complementary movie to further fuel discussion on this topic would be I, Robot.

I, Robot, directed by Alex Proyas, discusses human-robot interactions and its complications. Spoiler alert, in the movie there is a full fledged war between the robots and their creators. Aside from being another awesome Will Smith movie with epic fight scenes, great graphics (for the time it was made, at least), and a cool concept, it taps into serious questions we must ask ourselves as we move into this new era of increased dependence on machines. This raises many questions, as what happens when the creations become better than the creators and want more power? I feel that just this question could stimulate much discussion in our class, and people would want to throw in more than just their ‘two cents’!

Watching this movie at a deeper lever we can analyze and argue for the case of ‘should we keep producing highly intelligent and autonomous robots?’. I feel like it would be beneficial for us to create a mock argument of this. Split the class in two groups: one that is pro-robot dependance, and one that is not. Each side could have the weekend to create their arguments and draft their ideals, and then they meet during the next class for the ultimate showdown. Professor Laville would be the mediator, making sure things don’t get too heated up. This exercise would be beneficial because it would give us all public speaking skills, argument skills, and it would change things up and get us on our feet.

I really do think I, Robot would be a good addition to the curriculum. It’s a great blockbuster movie that carries a deep, controversial message. It fits in seamlessly with the ‘technology and the sense’ theme, and includes a fun activity that we could have fun with and learn valuable skills at the same time.

Works Cited

I, Robot. Dir. Alex Proyas and Akiva Goldsman. Screenplay by Jeff Vintar. Perf. Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, and Bruce Greenwood. 20th Century Fox, 2004. Film.

Max and Mary

On Wednesday, November 5, 2014, from seven to nine in the afternoon in the Center for Ethics, Room 102, Max and Mary had a screening. This Australian animation movie is an comedy/drama that came out back in 2009 for the Sundance film festival. This movie boasts a story of two very different people, an american and an Australian, who find themselves lost in the world. They develop a pen pal relationship and end up helping each other out. Through a series of depressing and uplifting events, the find themselves doing things that they had never even imagined they’d do. For Mary, she confronts the bully at her school that eats her sandwiches by telling him that she’s the Chief of Chocolate in Heaven, so she will make sure that he gets no chocolate then they die. For Max, he begins to try to face his anxiety. Instead of trying to stop combination with Mary altogether when his panics attack send him to a mental asylum, he paces himself through her letters and take his medications. By now you’re probably thinking, this movie sounds really dramatic, but where is the comedy? Well, the humor presented is really dark, dry, and random. For example, how they portray Mary’s mother. She obviously suffers from alcoholism, but since Mary is young and she is the narrator, we are told that she loves to drink her adult tea called “Sherry” which must be tested very often. To the audience, it is apparent that her mother isn’t drinking tea by the way that she acts and behaves, but we view the world from the lens of Mary, who is eight years old at the time. Overall the movie conveys a message about people with mental disabilities. Most people tend to wave them off as unuseful, like the New York city mayor. Max had legitimate comments to make about the litter in the city, but, since he wasn’t ‘normal’, his comments aren’t taken seriously. If everyone were more like Mary and took their time to listen and connect with the clinically labeled ‘insane’, there would be a greater enlightenment on their behavior and the reasons behind their actions. Max and Mary really was an emotional movie. We followed this too people as they grew older, got arrested, got married, peaked in their careers, had breakdowns, were on the verge of suicide, and, ultimately, died. As the credits rolled, sniffles could definitely be heard.

Dem Jeans

Woah, that’s hot.

How does something go from being a potential threat to our bodies to something that is desired by most? The word hot wasn’t always sexual, although it sure feels that way. First associated with sexuality back in the 1500’s in written English to express desire, the word has had a long track record (Online Etymology Dictionary).  Who do we have to thank for this word? In the 1500’s, Queen Elizabeth I. The 1600’s, Elizabeth Bathory. The 1700’s, Marie Antoinette. The 1800’s, Charlotte Brontë. The 1900’s, Marilyn Monroe. Finally, the 2000’s, Kim Kardashian (McKee, Ryan). Now lets play a game: pick the odd one out.

Until recent years, the title of hottest were given to the ladies who were strong, powerful, and substantial. In modern times, the story is much different. The word “hot” is thrown around so much that it feels to have actually cooled down. Just by walking down the streets with some of my guy and girl friends, I hear at least twice someone saying different things like “damn, did you see her? She was so hot,” or “OMG that guy was hawt [hot]”.

Still the question remains, why does a word that conveys the sensation of warm to the point of becoming concerning and uncomfortable also mean sexual and attractive? Hot was first connected with hot-blooded, which means inclined to powerful emotion, passionate. When Shakespeare used hot-blooded in his play The Merry Wives  of Windsor (1623), the phrase was coined, and it became wildly popular throughout England (Oxford English Dictionary). From there people began to associate hot-blooded to attractive, and it didn’t take long for the term to be shortened into just plain old “hot”.

So next time you call someone hot, think of how passionate and how powerful their emotions are, not just how good they look in “dem jeans” (Chingy, and Jearmaine Dupri).

(start video at 1:11)


Works Cited:

“Online Etymology Dictionary.” Online Etymology Dictionary. Ed. Douglas Herper. Douglas Herper, n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2014.

McKee, Ryan. “Top 10: Hottest Historical Women.” AskMen. Askmen, n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2014.

“Hot-blooded, Adj.” Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press, n.d. Web. Oct.-Nov. 2014.

Chingy, and Jermaine Dupri. Dem Jeans. Chingy. EMI, 2006. MP3.

Anne Boleyn

English class. Eight grade. Teacher walks around the room holding an upside-down hat. Inside of the hat are little pieces of paper. Written on those pieces, name of different historical figures. Hands go in the hat, names are pulled out. Some kids holler and hoot when they see a familiar name. Others sigh and pout their lips. My turn- Anne Boleyn.

Who the hell? My mind races to try to link this name to a significant historical event, but I draw a blank. “What did you get?” my friends ask me, “I got Abraham Lincoln.” “I got Louis XIV.” “I got Christopher Columbus.” I got Anne Boleyn. Confused as to who this character is, I rush to the library to find out more information on her. First thing I find: she had six fingers on one of her hands. Great, I think, this should be interesting.

Throughout the following weeks I begin to do more intensive research on her. I look on online databases such as EBSCO Host and JStor, and I peruse through the encyclopedias and books in the library to find out more about this lady. Mistress, divorce, marriage, church, pregnancy, disappointment, treason and finally the Tower of London. I realized there was more to Anne that meets the eye. I became so invested in her story that I began to tell my friends about it during lunch, and they (or at least the ones who didn’t complain about schoolwork and leave our table as soon I began talking about classes during lunch) became intrigued and shocked as to why they have never heard of their name before. Her daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, is an insanely popular figure in the British throne, and so is her husband, King HenryVIII. In addition, her marriage with King Henry VIII was the spark that caused the Monarchy to separate from the Church of England.

How can a prominent figure be so underrated in history? The more I learned about Anne Boleyn, the more appreciation I had for her, so much that I felt like I had a personal connection with her. At that moment, I realized I had achieved the true purpose of the assignment and was done with my research. I was able to create a bond out of nothing with a deceased British monarch from the 16th century. Whenever I hear someone talking about the separation of Church and State, Queen Elizabeth, or even Virgin Mary’s (Mary I of England was her step-daughter) I think back on her struggle. When I went London, I made sure to stop by the Tower of London out of solidarity of the late Queen. However brief her rule was and insignificant it seems to be to most scholars, it resonated deep within me.

Research is whatever you make of it. Some of my friends, just went on Wikipedia and copied and pasted information down for their essay. Other friends became invested in their work like me and tried to find meaning in it. At the end of the day, what you get from your research is whatever you put into it.

“The Adventure of the Cardboard Box”

When thinking about literature, we have to take note where the piece came from. Each country has it’s own dialect of a language that, even if not noticeable in speaking, has difference when written by its style, flow, and patterns. “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle originated in Britain, so we should compare it to other British pieces. The most popular British author that most students come across in their studies is William Shakespeare. When juxtaposed, there are many differences in the writing styles of Doyle and Shakespeare. Since most American students are brought up with Shakespeare all throughout middle and high school, there are certain expectations whenever someone talks about “British literature”.

First and foremost, Shakespeare’s novels, such as Othello, are all written in an older version of the English language than “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box”. Even though this shift doesn’t affect the sematic of the story much, for its mostly aesthetic, there is a certain expectation for all of British literature to follow the paradigm set by Shakespeare and his novels. It is true that old languages everywhere evolve into the more modern version of themselves and no one expects books to stay stuck in the 1600’s, but since Shakespeare is so heavily taught in the United States as British literature and rarely shares a stage with the other authors, we have come to expect for all of them to follow suit due to years of priming at a young age.

Another major difference is how the literature is told. From Shakespeare (and most other literature everywhere), we expect most literatures to carry some sort of meaning at the end, either as a message that it’s trying to convey to the audience or as social commentary towards some aspect of society. However, Sir Arthur Conan’s novels seem to be purely narratives with no greater meaning. After I finished I asked myself, “So what? What was the point of the novel?” Yes, it was entertaining to read. Yes, the story was dense and carried a lot of brain provoking thoughts at times. However, it seemed meaningless and rather vapid at the end.

Even though “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was not what I expected, it is by no means poor literature. That is exactly the point of being at a learning institution, though. If we are always given the expect, there is no room for growth.

The Beautiful ‘Handwritten’ Letter Company

“Rachel I miss you so much it hurts my whole body. The world is being unfair to us. The world is on my shit list. And is this couple that is making out across from me in this restaurant I think I’m going to have to go on a mission of revenge and I must beat up the world’s face with my bare knuckles, making it a bloody, pulpy mess. And I’ll stomp on this couple’s teeth reminding me of your little sweet little cute crooked tooth that I love,” (Jonze).

In the movie Her, our protagonist Theodore has a job at the Beautiful Handwritten Letters Company that some people may find… uncanny. He writes personal letters to people, from people that don’t want to waste any of their precious type writing a letter to their loved- or not so loved- ones.

The director of the movie hoped to elicit a specific response from us. He sought to leave us in awe of this new business, in the excitement of the technological advances of the future to come.

Reading through online forums about the movie, some people seem to think that these new changes to society were touching. They focused more on the superficial aspect of things. They were more interested in what the letters had to say, rather than who was wielding the pen– or should I say the voice? Even though the company is called ‘Beautiful Handwritten Letters Company’, all of the words are written down by dictation through a computer rather than someone actually hand writing them (Bustillos).

However, the response from my classmates and I were a bit different. After seeing the movie we talked about it amongst ourselves, for the movie was so deep that we still had some questions in mind when it was over. The general consensus was disgust. Disgust at how bad society had gotten that people had to find comfort in artificial intelligence, trivial video games, and fake handwritten notes written by strangers. We all agreed that living in a world without those futuristic add-ons would be much more preferable than living in a world with them.

Why do these views vary? The director hopes to leave the audience impressed by the movie, and he wants them to be longing to be part of such a society. The general audience is viewing the movie for pleasure, not analytically, so they don’t overthink things and are able to be caught up in the love story. Lastly, us, the students, are viewing this movie with a critique’s hat on. We analyze every little part of the movie for extra detail and information and look for semantics in the smallest of actions.

Even though Theodore’s job is such a small part of the movie, but there still is much controversy hidden behind it. The director had hoped to instill in the audience a sense of awe and interest of the future; the general audience got wrapped up in the razzle-dazzle, superficial aspect of the society; and my classmates and I saw through the glitter mist and realized what lay at the core of this society- a very mechanical, cold core.

Works Cited

Bustillos, Maria. “”Her”: This Movie Makes No Sense.” The Awl. N.p., 10 Jan. 2014. Web. 03 Oct. 2014.

Her. Dir. Spike Jonze. By Spike Jonze. Perf. Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. 2013. Film.



@thomasalcalay 2.0

My Facebook persona is flawless. He always has a great time, always dines in the best restaurant, always surrounds himself with friends, and always travels to exotic places. He gets likes on his comments, and even has a funny video to show his followers once in a while. He never complains. @thomasalcalay is the best. Why wouldn’t he be? I’m controlling him, he doesn’t get a say in anything. Who would want to follow someone who stays at home watching Netflix all day? Someone who has bad days and gets irritable? No one.

How are we supposed to know how to tackle something that is so big and widespread as this new virtual playing field? There is no guide, no step-by-step instruction. We, as people moving into this new technological era, must mold our social skills to fit this new design. The unspoken rule of what to do and what not to do is so blurred that there almost seems to be no rule at all. People obsess over follower to following ratios, their ‘“likeage” (how much likes a post, picture, or tweet receives), and even the amount of time someone should wait to accept a friend request.

Let’s get real, social media is a hoax. People put up an avatar of who they want to be and live vicariously through their virtual puppets. Then again, if the cyber world was as true as the physical one, who would want to log-on? Let’s take a moment and look at my Facebook profile, which is already by definition indicating that it only paints half a story, for it’s a “person’s face, as seen from one side.” (New Oxford American Dictionary). On all of the pictures I’m tagged in, I look fairly happy and well-kept. Is every picture taken of me always this great? Of course not. Whenever I’m tagged in a photo, I take a peak to see if its a good picture. If I approve, I let it stay; if not, I untag myself- simple as that. Half of the bad pictures of me are wiped from my follower’s screen. As the unwanted memories get chipped away, the ideal version of myself becomes presentable to the world.

I’m the kind of person who doesn’t post anything on Facebook- my only status posted last year was when I got into Emory. As Facebook became more and more popular throughout the recent years and family members and friends joined, I felt uncomfortable sharing some of my comments with them. I turned to another outlet, Twitter, for a more intimate, real experience. On Twitter I can choose who follows me and say anything I please. Everyone does the same, so there isn’t much judgment. Frustrated about the line at Starbucks? Complain about it. Wondering how the driver in front of you can drive so slow, yet so recklessly? Tell him off. Finished two bags of chips and a whole season of Breaking Bad in one sitting? Declare your accomplishment. Everyone relates.

On this new multi-media world, we have to worry about the things we portray rather than say. Social media is what you make it- there is no ‘right’ way to go about it. The best way to conquer this virtual world is to be yourself.