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Viagra Airs Its First Ad Featuring Only a Woman, and She Gets Right to the Point A less chaste approach

This minute-long BBDO spot for Viagra is, apparently, the brand's first to show only a woman, and its first to use the word "erection" outside of the description of side effects.

Here, an attractive woman in a slinky blue dress poses on what appears to be an unmade bed or some sort of mattress, assuring us, "Plenty of guys have this issue—not just getting an erection, but keeping it." She's got an British accent, so you know she means business. An agency rep says it's a new direction designed to focus on the partner's point of view.

That's a big change from past campaigns, which told men's stories and kept women in the background, if they were shown at all. "The intensifying of the marketing message makes sense, considering Viagra's patent expires in three years, along with its monopoly," NBC's Today points out.


Viagra ads used to be about as chaste and subdued as they could be while advertising boner pills. For example, this spot from a couple of years ago keeps the focus on some guy and his sailboat. No women in that dude's crew. Not even a mermaid off the starboard bow.

That traditional level of restraint makes the new ad (also awash in nautical imagery, by the way), well ... stick out, and not in an altogether positive way. It feels tacky, and could almost be viewed as an exercise in objectification: Take Viagra, and claim your prize!

Plus, some elements seem like overkill. She says "erection." Do we really need the ship masts in the distance, rising straight and tall? Or that long pier jutting into the briny deep? And flagpoles planted in the sand?

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