February 02, 2011

Sex And The Super Bowl

For a hack copywriter, nothing gets your blood pumping like the prospect of writing a spot for the Super Bowl. (Well, that and being introduced to an impressionable young account coordinator. But that's another story...)

I had my chance at Super Bowl glory.

In 1998, my agency had an account called Vivus. Vivus had developed a product called Muse. Muse was the first of the "new-age" erectile dysfunction remedies. That's right, boner dust.

I wrote a spot for Muse. Because it was the first of its kind in a sensitive product area, the spot was developed intentionally to be "fact-forward" and non-suggestive. It was very simple. Visually, it was all type. Ed Asner did the voice over.

The client decided to run the spot on the Super Bowl.  NBC had other ideas. They rejected it. They said the subject matter was too radical for prime time.

Today you can't turn on Saturday morning cartoons without seeing icky, sex-crazed Baby Boomers jumping into rooftop bathtubs at sunset. But, alas, it was a different time.

As I sit here today, it's probably a good thing that NBC rejected the spot. You see, Muse was a suppository. That's right, you had to stick the little pill up the little...please...don't make me say it.

A few months later Viagra came out with a pill that could be taken orally -- a much less alarming "delivery system." The rest is history.

Now that I’m a useless old bean-counter, sometimes I sit back in my rocking chair and reminisce about my glory days as a hack copywriter. I had one brush with Super Bowl immortality, and I blew it.

So to speak.

By The Way...
...at the time, one of our copywriters wrote the best boner dust headline I've ever seen: "This Ad Can Give You An Erection."

No comments: