Thanks to Pfizer, the sustained erection-on-demand is taking its place alongside whiter teeth and smooth transparent toenails in the pantheon of advertising banality.
Do half of American men over 40 need a pill to make their sex lives complete?This all makes complete sense, of course, when one sees pharmaceutical corporations as profit-interested capitalists rather than "miracle makers of wonder drugs that make my life worth living". If only seven million of your target base of sixty million are consuming your product, there's a lot of room for expansion (pardon the pun).
About six million American men have taken Viagra for erectile dysfunction since it was introduced by Pfizer in 1998, and about a million have taken its newer competitors, Levitra and Cialis, according to the makers of the drugs. But the companies have a grander vision: 30 million potential customers, mostly among the roughly 60 million men over age 40.
Even as the companies battle ever more fiercely over the existing market, they are all promoting the idea that the consumer base can extend well beyond men who have the classic symptom of the disorder formerly known as impotence, a persistent and complete inability to have or sustain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. . . .
The drive to redefine erectile dysfunction, also known as E.D., as a quality-of-life issue for significantly younger men facing normal age-related changes is as plain as the shift to the younger celebrities and models now being used to advertise the drugs.
The response of the drug makers is, essentially, what's wrong with that? . . .
Critics say that the drug companies are trying to advance the idea that anything less than erectile perfection is unacceptable.
"Just because someone can't always have an erection on demand doesn't necessarily mean it's a problem," said Dr. Leonore Tiefer, an associate professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine, who has been a vocal critic of the way the drugs are marketed. "The advertising and promotion have become disengaged from any notion of a medical condition or a disease. Now you take these drugs because you're less perfect than you want to be. It's like teeth whitener."
Convincing people they are unhappy without your product is the second step of advertising. The first is convincing them they are unhappy in the first place.