Viagra TV Ads from Canada

Viagra was introduced in 1999 and was first promoted on television at the beginning of 2002. In their January 2002 press release Pfizer, the producer of Viagra, announced that they were ready to market the antidote to male erectile dysfunction in Canada. Pfizer commissioned Taxi in Toronto to provide their angle on the campaign for Viagra. On their site Taxi explain that they had to overcome perceptions built up by jokes on late night comedy shows. They had to show that this drug was likely to benefit not just old men and sex fanatics but ordinary men. They aimed at visibility, universality, subtlety and vitality. In doing so they had to be careful not to say a single word about Viagra as a product because of the Canadian laws on pharmaceutical advertising.

Viagra TV ads from Canada


The first spot was to be “Good Morning”, (Quel Beau Matin!) developed by creative team Alan Madill and Terry Drummond at Taxi, Toronto and directed by Martin Granger at Avion Films. The ad starts with an energetic man on his way to work with the soundtrack of “Good morning” from the musical “Singing in the rain.” He bounces down the footpath, past the white picket fence, past the postie and neighbours, hops down the hop skip and jump game, slam dunks a basketball, dances past Mario’s barber’s shop, bounds up the stairs from the train, chases the pigeons, leap frogs the Journal newspaper, cartwheels up to the front door of his office. As he walks into the lift/elevator the word “Viagra” appears on screen, with the encouragement to “Talk to your doctor”.

In “Champions” (2003) a deliriously happy man bounds out the front door of his home and onto the street, taking part in the euphoria of ordinary men who have rediscovered their potency. A woman next door watches with disbelief as she waters her garden with a limp hose. A chap down the street joins in the party as he swerves his hips next to his lathered car. The postie throws the mail into the air and a businessman twirls his briefcase round and round, spilling his paper everywhere. All the way through is the Queen track, “We are the champions”. By the end of the advert the neighbourhood is celebrating on the street. The Viagra pill appears on screen, with the words, “Talk to your doctor”.

Creative direction was provided by Zak Mroueh with Alan Madill and Terry Drummond, with agency producer Louise Bloun. Director Martin Granger worked with producer Marie Walsh and director of photography Barry Parrell at Avion Films. Film editing was done by Chris Parkins at Flashcut. Music and sound was mixed at David Fleury Music.

In 2004, in a move to globalise the Canadian Viagra campaign, Taxi produced “I Did It My Way”, a television commercial featuring men singing in the bath or shower – each giving their rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “I did it my way” in their own language. Note: Sinatra co-wrote the song with Paul Anka.

The next four advertisements belong together as the Viagra Beep Campaign. Three have won awards at the Cannes Advertising Festival and Sharks Awards Advertising Festival in Ennis, Ireland.

Three office workers stand in the kitchen, two men and a woman. One man to the other. “Hey Tom”. “Good morning”. “You’re looking good. You been working out?” “No but I’ve been BEEEEEEEEP.” The woman struggles for the response. “Huh Hah…. Bravo!”

We’re at a press conference, microphones everywhere. “Coach! Coach! How does it feel to retire?” “Pretty darn good.” “What are you going to do with your free time?” “Well I’m going to spend a little more time BEEEEEEEEEEEEP.” Stunned silence. “Next…”

Two guys meet in a lift/elevator. “Hey Alan. Running a little late?” “Yeah.” “You look tired. “No. I was up late BEEEEEEEEEEEP.” “Cool.” Click on the image below to play the Elevator video in YouTube

Two golfers on the course. One marvels at the putt he’s just seen. “Oh can you believe that?” “That’s nothing. This morning I BEEEEEEEEP.” “Oh oh hah hah hah hah Good for you!”

Taxi’s team for the campaign included creative directors Lance Martin and Zak Mroueh, art director Ron Smrczek, copywriter Irfan Khan and agency producer Jennifer Mete. Director Joachim Back worked with producer Gigi Realini and Link York, director of photography Joaquin Baca-Asay from The Partners Film Company. Mick Griffin from FlashCut was editor. Sound design was arranged at The Eggplant.

Cautions

The international Viagra web site, www.viagra.com, gives some fine print cautions.

“Viagra, which contains sildenafil, can cause blood pressure to lower dangerously if taken with nitrates, which are often prescribed for patients with diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease. The FDA-approved labeling lists adverse reactions that can occur when taking Viagra, among them headache, flushing and transient abnormal vision.”