You know the commercials, where a couple of a certain age is walking along the beach, next playfully interacting in a living room, and where they seem to be slowly inching towards a romantic encounter, telegraphing that sex is on the menu. There’s nothing like settling down to a football game with your buddies. But when such ads flash across the screen it can be awkward, especially if you and your cohorts are around a certain age. Now a new report says that televised NFL games will no longer show such commercials, according to the journal Advertising Age. Who knows how long it’ll last though. Viagra, owned by pharma giant Pfizer and Cialis by Eli Lilly, have abstained from buying up airtime this football season, according to an unnamed, insider source. While Viagra ads have ceased as of May 15, Cialis still has a pretty strong TV presence. That’s according to ad tracker iSpot.tv. Pfizer spent about $31 million on Viagra NFL ads last year, while Lilly spent $22 million. Eli Lilly has spent over eight million on TV ads in total in the last month alone. Lilly rates eighth in overall big pharma TV ad spending.
No one from Pfizer would comment about their departure from the NFL. Nor did they fork over any marketing plans. One reason why may be that Pfizer lost its patent on Viagra this year. With a generic coming out from Teva Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer may not see any reason to spend on their flagship brand. Eli Lilly still has time. Both big drug companies have talked about offering these drugs over-the-counter. Right now, Pfizer is looking at other prescription drugs to see if they too can make it to over-the-counter status, a spokesperson for the company said. In 2014, Lilly signed a deal with Sanofi to begin offering Cialis over-the-counter in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Even though viewers have lambasted ED drug commercials and late night TV show hosts have lampooned them, over-the-counter varieties may breathe new life into such commercials yet. If you’re suffering from ED, be sure to talk to a doctor or urologist about it.