With Viagra sponsoring this year’s Major League Baseball postseason the hashtag #viagracommercial has been trending across Twitter in the USA as MLB fans react to presence of the Pfizer brand’s latest campaign across Fox’s playoff TV coverage.
The latest Viagra campaign, developed with agency BBDO NY, takes a more direct and female-focused approach when compared to its recent ad heritage based around metaphors and older gentlemen.
Instead it revolves around a woman encouraging men to get treatment for erectile dysfunction.
The spearhead TV spot, airing heavily across baseball playoff games and NFL broadcasts, stars a 40-something British woman lying on a beach bed and wearing a slinky dress and speaks directly into the camera: ‘You know what, plenty of guys have this issue. If ED is stopping what you started, ask your doctor about Viagra’.
This new Pfizer tactic is certainly lighting up Twitter during the baseball as viewers react to the frequent airing of the new creative.
While some fans focus on parodying the campaign (a long established tradition when it comes to Viagra spots) such as this segment on Ellen,
while others are questioning its suitability for family sports viewing.
One tweet said:
‘Side effects of watching the #MLBPlayoffs could include a premature need to have The Talk with your son,’
Whilst another tweeted.
‘When are we going to remove these #ED commercials from TV? I don’t think they’re appropriate for prime time.’
According to the agency it is ‘conversation’ rather than ‘controversy’ that they are looking to generate.
‘This is an example of a very simple, straightforward story well told via an execution that I would say uses direct, honest, compassionate approach to simply let men with ED know they are not alone,’ said John Osborn, president of BBDO, New York. ‘It was our belief that this approach would put men at ease.’
‘We are intending to create conversation, not parody,’ Mr. Osborn said.
This new Pfizer approach certainly marks a major tactical change from its previous ‘subtle innuendo approach – as reflected by its most recent ‘Age of Knowing’ campaign (developed by its previous agency McGarryBowen).
But its strategy of focusing on sports property is not new.
In 2013, according to Kantar Media, Pfizer spent $176m on measured media promoting Viagra – the majority of it on sports broadcasts.
In addition to the MLB playoffs, it has also been a major advertiser during new season NFL broadcasts – both pre- and post-game.