Pfizer tackles erectile dysfunction taboo in new campaign

Pfizer wants to overturn stigma surrounding erectile dysfunction in an ad campaign promoting a new over-the-counter Viagra product.

The sport-focused ad for Viagra Connect
The sport-focused ad for Viagra Connect

Viagra Connect went on sale in the UK this week and is available in pharmacies without a prescription, unlike the standard Viagra medication.

The campaign, created by a WPP team led by Y&R London, seeks to raise awareness of the normality of erectile dysfunction among men. Print and outdoor ads, focused on news, sport and travel, use real world examples to highlight the fact that 4.3 million men in the UK experience erectile problems.

"That’s more men than there are cabs in the whole of the UK," one ad reads. "More men than people who will use the Tube today."

This is the first phase of the creative campaign and additional ads will launch this summer. It is supported by a media strategy from Wavemaker, which includes social and content partnerships, and PR activity by Burson Cohn & Wolfe. 

Geometry UK is handling shopper communications, and Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide developed educational and training materials for pharamacists so that they can supply the appropriate products to eligible men. 

The ads were created by Tony Malcolm, Josh Pearce and Sean Johnson at Y&R London and this is the agency's first work for Pfizer as the WPP team lead. 

"4.3 million is an incredible number of men," Y&R London chief creative officer Jon Burley said. "We wanted to utilise the power of such comparative statistics to creatively deliver the message that erectile dysfunction is a common condition that can be treated without the need for a prescription."

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