Pfizer has just released a Viagra commercial in Canada that contains nothing but gibberish, save for the word Viagra. While not necessarily Dr. Porkenheimer’s Boner Juice, Pfizer is no stranger to controversial advertising. The FDA made the company take its 2004 “Wild Thing” ad off the air, because the ad implied that people are given nicknames for getting around (the “Festering Ho-bag” campaign was shelved in pre-production).
Pfizer claims that the spot is just a reminder ad, and that consumers already know what Viagra does. Critics argue that pharmaceutical advertising is a stone’s throw from turning into beer (the “Magic Viagra Fridge” anyone?). From the NY Times:
Maxine Thomas, an executive at Taxi, the agency in Toronto that produced the campaign, said the ads take advantage of Viagra’s name recognition. “It’s not as though we need to tell people what it does, because they already know,” she said. “Consumers can fill in the blank for themselves.”
Canada has similar drug advertising rules as the US – you’re allowed to show a translucent neon butterfly floating in an aurora that exists in your bedroom only when you’re sleeping as long as you don’t explicitly say that the drug is a sleep aid. This allows you to bypass the 3 minute roll-call of side-effects and provides the helpful service of letting the populace decide whether it wants to see a neon butterfly. Just annoy a physician today! Everybody wins. You get to try something cool you haven’t even thought of yet, maybe see a neon butterfly, experience some unknown side effects (massive anal leakage, occasional dizziness), and your doctor gets you off his back.
Pfizer is currently teetering around the midpoint of its 52-week range in daily trading, up slightly at the moment (after being down slightly a moment ago).
Minky Viagra? Pfizer Doesn’t Want You to Understand It, Just Buy It – [NYTimes]