Despite Viagra being the best-known solution in the world for erection problems, millions of couples were still suffering in silence. A brand with decades of cultural baggage to overcome didn’t need a new advert; it needed to find its voice and transform its relationship with customers.
Consumer and competitor research helped us understand how millions of men face the stigma of ED. Whilst men see positives in modern masculinity, namely, openness and the ability to be more emotional, they deal with the stigma of erection problems in the most traditionally masculine way: closing down, burying the issue, and internalising the blame. Unfortunately for us, Viagra was a symbol of their perceived failure. As a sexual performance aid, it said, “this is your fault”. This was a huge challenge putting a ceiling on our potential. We had to define a new role for the brand to stand any chance of growing our customer base.
Working with our client and agency partners, it became clear that we had to change the conversation. Our answer was to help men remove blame from themselves and shift it onto the true causes of erection problems. "It's not you, it's life" was our new strategic platform for growth.
At the heart of our strategy was a two-minute animated film, "Love Story". For the first time on TV, we showed an honest depiction of a couple struggling with erection problems. We showed how people very much in love became victims of stress, tiredness, or a poor diet, and the everyday devastation symptoms of modern life can have on a relationship.
We worked closely with other agencies across WPP to ensure the campaign was heard, with a media approach placing the campaign into places of 'perceived scale' – spots where it felt like the campaign was unmissable. PR supported with a push to get people talking about the impact erection problems can have on their intimate life. We also worked with pharmacists and retailers to get them excited about the campaign and bring it to life across their channels.
As creative lead, we ensured we took a collaborative approach and, together with our client and partners, we delivered an ambitious campaign on time and budget. The strength of our creative even meant we attracted best-in-class production partners who worked on the project at a reduced rate, resulting in a saving of 10% of the total production budget
Viagra Connect launches a new campaign, which aims to shift the conversation around erectile problems, from a stigmatised issue long associated with a perceived lack of masculinity to a health issue that can be caused by the stresses and strains of modern life.