Curious About The Bath Tubs In Cialis Commercials

By Kate Merrill, WBZ-TV

FITCHBURG (CBS) – Those two bath tubs are certainly an iconic image in the world of advertising.

They made Jane from Fitchburg curious about what they really mean. She wrote us, asking “Could you please tell us what the two bath tubs are supposed to represent in the commercials for Cialis? It doesn’t make any sense to me, or anyone I have spoken with.”

When we asked people in Brookline Village, they said they didn’t have any idea what those tubs are supposed to represent.

WBZ-TV’s Kate Merrill reports

Babson College marketing professor Glenn Kelley says there is really no good advertising for drugs dealing with erectile dysfunction. He believes that when this campaign was launched a number of years ago, the goal was to push sex without being too sexy.

Now the company has a recognizable logo and probably doesn’t want to risk changing it, according to Kelley. “I think there’s a mantra within the corporation that that’s our logo and we are not changing it,” said Kelley.

Advertising for E.D. drugs is huge. As baby boomers age, be prepared to see a whole lot more of it for all kinds of drugs, such as Viagra.

“They are spending $313 million dollars a year, up significantly from just a couple of years ago and climbing,” said Kelley.

That could cause concern for some families who might watch TV during dinner or a football game, when one of these ads pops us. In fact, one congressman even filed a bill that would only allow these ads to air after 10 pm.

Melissa Henson of the Parents Television Council said many parents are caught off guard by these commercials. Her group got the drug companies to provide a schedule of when these ads would run. They post those air dates on their website so parents have the option of keeping their children away from the screen during those shows.

Henson believes the most offensive material is often mandated by the FDA. “Quite often the most problematic content is in the medical disclaimers at the end of the commercials.” The PTC would like to work the FDA to change some of that language.

One man in Brookline told us that although the Cialis ads are somewhat random, they do stick in your head. That’s an indication that they are working.

We reached out to the Lilly Corporation, the makers of Cialis, and did not receive a response about the advertising campaign.

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