The Most Lovely and Surprising Ad You’ll See Today Is for Viagra

Setting aside jokes and cliché, VMLY&R tells a touching, relatable story of distance in relationships

VMLY&R research shows half of men who have experienced erectile dysfunction would not speak to their partner about it.
VMLY&R London

Erectile dysfunction is rarely spoken about openly, and as a result most Viagra ads are creatively awkward, reaching for humor, metaphor or cliché—if not all of the above.

This can have the unintentional effect of making the issue seem too taboo or embarrassing to discuss–which VMLY&R London has recognized in its latest, surprisingly lovely campaign for Viagra Connect. The product, which first went on the market in 2018, is an over-the-counter version of Viagra.

In a departure from typical Viagra advertising styles, the agency has made a sensitive animated hero film called “Love Story,” which it hopes will shift the conversation around erectile issues and make communication more open.

Animated by Sao Paulo’s Zombie Studio, produced by BlinkInk and set to a somber cover of The Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” the film shows how stress, work, poor eating habits and the other challenges of everyday life can create distance in a relationship. The stress of such issues can be amplified by (or amplify the likelihood of) erectile dysfunction.

As society opens up about mental health, sexual health and periods, ads about these topics are becoming increasingly frank. But when it comes to men’s health, there is still a notable silence.

Research cited by VMLY&R indicates 26% of people in the U.K. are unable to be intimate due to the inability by themselves or their partners to get or maintain an erection, but less than half of the men questioned (46%) said they had spoken to their partner about it.

“Much beyond a little blue pill, this campaign is a complex message about modern masculinity and intimacy in relationships,” said Tamryn Kerr, creative director at VMLY&R London. “I hope it will be seen alongside some of the most powerful recent advertising that has challenged and changed societal norms for the better.”

The campaign spans TV, streaming video, digital and social.

CREDITS:
Client: Viagra Connect
Commercial lead: Stephen Harrison
Marketing director: Rob Elliott
Marketing manager: Teresa Lau, Paula Taylor
Trade marketing manager: Toygan Yamanel
Medical lead: Justin Nnawuchi
Digital marketing lead: Paul Withers
Digital marketing manager: Hayley Perez
Pharmacy business director: Alison Dixon
Agency: VMLY&R
Chief creative officer: Laurent Simon
Creative director: Tamryn Kerr
Chairman: Mark Roalfe
Chief strategy officer: Sophie Lewis
Strategy director: Josh Taylor-Dadds
Strategist: Ollie Chakraverty
Senior producer: Charlotte Davis
Global brand director: Nick Burstin
Senior account director: Siobhán Woodrow
Senior account manager: Karolina Dovgialo
Design director: Chris Willis
Production: BlinkInk
Executive producer: Bart Yates
Producer: John Woolley
Animation and visual effects: Zombie Studio
Director: Paulo Garcia
Account services: Stefanie Dias
Creative direction: Daniel Salles, Marcelo Garcia
Producer: André Carvalho
CGI supervisor: Rafael Segnini
Technical director: Wallan Oliveira
Technical supervisor: Isaac Buzzola
Storyboard and animatic: Saulo Brito and Gabriel São Marcos
Animation supervisor: Patrick Botton
Lead modeler: Mauricio Sampaio
Lead look development: Claudio Junior
Composition supervisor: Leanndro Amorim and Guilherme Sarinho
Color grading: Psycho n’ Look
Sound: Factory
Sound design, mix and music arrangement: Anthony Moore
Audio producer: Lucy Spong.

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