A male malady, set to music

The Baltimore Sun

The first thing that comes to mind when you watch the new Viagra commercial is: Who knew ED could be so much fun?

If you haven't seen this gem yet, picture a bunch of middle-age guys with musical instruments sitting around some sort of roadside cafe.

Suddenly, they launch into a snappy little ditty called -- you can't make this up -- "Viva Viagra."

And it's sung to the tune of "Viva Las Vegas," the old Elvis Presley song.

Yep, that sound you heard was the King pushing aside the Sara Lee wrappers and spinning in his grave.

Anyway, the guys really seem to be having a great time as they sing about their little blue pills, smiling and nodding the whole time.

I'll spare you all the lyrics, although the words "erectile dysfunction" are never uttered, which I think we'd all agree is a good thing.

Let's just say the song has to do with a longing, a yearning, that all the guys seem to have.

"Got me a honey, gonna set my soul, gonna set my soul on fire!" one guy croons.

"I can't wait to go home!" sings another guy.

OK, so obviously the boys are getting a little, um, worked up here.

When all the singing is finally over, they leave and go their separate ways, amid more smiling and nodding and hugging.

Off they roar in their pickup trucks and on their motorcycles, leaving a cloud of dust.

And you're left with the impression they're hurrying home to their wives or girlfriends or whomever it was they were, uh, yearning for.

(Look, I'm trying to be open to all sexual persuasions here. Work with me, OK?)

In any event, the commercial is generating a lot of talk, much of it about how mortifying the whole thing is.

Which means, of course, it'll probably be a big hit in the advertising world. And sell a ton of Viagra for Pfizer, the big pharmaceutical company.

But has anyone at Pfizer stopped to think how ridiculous the whole premise is?

Look, if you're a guy with ED, is this really something you'd be singing about with your buddies?

Is this really the kind of thing that would prompt you to call a pal and say: "Hey, I can't have sex! Grab your guitar -- I think we've got a song here!"

Most guys I know won't even talk about jock itch, never mind sing about something like this.

The other thing that's odd about the commercial is that there aren't any women in it.

In most of these goofy ED commercials, you see the standard-issue handsome middle-age couple doing something romantic together.

Maybe they're walking hand in hand through a beautiful garden or standing on the deck of a cruise ship at dusk, holding golden flutes of champagne.

Sometimes, they're just staring out at the rain as it splatters the window of their cozy farmhouse.

Or they're slow dancing in their kitchen to an old Temptations song.

Then, suddenly, I guess, something must kick in.

Because now the couple is making goo-goo eyes at each other and sneaking off somewhere with their arms around one another.

Or they're lowering the blinds in the bedroom and dimming the lights.

Oh, these commercials are pretty subtle, all right.

But, again, what do we have in the new "Viva Viagra" commercial?

No women!

No women at all!

Now that's groundbreaking stuff when you're hawking a product like Viagra.

Naturally, at the end of the "Viva Viagra" commercial, there are the usual 15,000 disclaimers about possible side effects, although I don't remember hearing about that one infamous side effect -- yes, the side effect of all side effects -- which will not be named here.

(You talk about mortifying. Imagine showing up in the emergency room with that problem.)

But apparently that's not the worst thing that can happen when you take any of these drugs for ED.

No, the worst thing that could happen is: You keel over.

Maybe for good.

"Ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex," intones a voice at the end of this new commercial.

Me, I wonder if my heart is healthy enough to watch this nonsense at all.



Read recent columns by Kevin Cowherd at baltimoresun.com/cowherd

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