This full-page ad for Viagra is currently appearing in national magazines like Time, where I saw it:
You fix your private plane. You fix your cool vintage car. So naturally, you face that other problem “head on.”
Several things about this ad interest me, including the blue-tinged palette*, but I want to focus on “It’s What Men Do.”
Mad Men fans may recall that “It’s what men do” is the kicker line in a much-cited exchange of dialogue between Roger Sterling and Don Draper in the show’s first season.
Roger: You don't know how to drink. Your whole generation, you drink for the wrong reasons. My generation, we drink because it’s good, because it feels better than unbuttoning your collar, because we deserve it. We drink because it’s what men do.
Coincidentally—maybe—“It’s What Men Do” has also served time as the slogan for a liquor company. (Yes, I researched this. It’s What Branding Nerds Do®.) In the late 1990s, Seagram Americas** introduced a new Canadian whisky, V.O. Gold, with a series of humorous ads. According to trade publication Beverage Dynamics, the ads pointed out “humorous ‘male-isms,’ such as ‘They buy tools that they’ll never use,’ and ‘They remember scores, not anniversaries.’” Each ad ended with the tagline “It’s What Men Do.” (I haven’t been able to find any of the ads online.)
(Does it seem peculiar that a whisky slogan would be appropriated by an erectile-dysfunction drug? As Shakespeare reminded us in Macbeth, liquor “provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance.”)
Then there’s the related “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.” It’s the title of a song (sung by Neil Patrick Harris) in the Web musical Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, but the phrase has much earlier antecedents, including a similar phrase in The Grapes of Wrath and a quotation variously attributed to John Wayne, Charlton Heston, Alan Ladd and George Jetson.
Viagra has cycled through a number of slogans since the drug’s introduction in 1998. The original slogan, “Love Life Again,” appealed both to men and to women; the drug was positioned as a relationship-saver. Other slogans have included “Get Back to Mischief,” “Put Some [image of uncoiled spring] in Your Step,” and “Viva Viagra.”
* “Bluish vision” is one of the documented side effects of Viagra use.
** The Seagram Company Ltd., founded in Waterloo, Ontario, in 1857, was acquired by the Bronfman family in 1928 and thrived during the US Prohibition era, as mentioned in my post about the excellent book Last Call. Beginning in 2000, the company’s assets were sold to a number of companies, including Coca-Cola, Vivendi, Diageo, and Pernod Ricard.