You’ve seen them, those erectile dysfunction ads that have littered the airwaves ad nauseum. They’ve aired during baseball games especially during the World Series, all throughout the evening news broadcasts and in particular, NFL games. But it appears you won’t be seeing ads for Cialis or Viagra on the NFL’s partners CBS, Fox, ESPN or NBC this season.

Once a staple on television, Advertising Age is reporting that the owners of Cialis and Viagra, Eli Lilly and Pfizer will be pulling out of the NFL, leaving the league’s upfront ad sales rather tepid and limp. Both pharmaceuticals totaled for more than $50 million on NFL advertising last season and that leaves a rather gaping hole in the networks coffers.

You might think it was the lower ratings for the NFL last season, but there’s another reason:

Nearly 20 years after the FDA first approved its use as an ED remedy, Pfizer’s Viagra is losing its patent exclusivity, and that’s a bitter pill to swallow for the TV business. Viagra hasn’t aired a national TV advertisement since May 15, and network ad sales executives said the brand is unlikely to resurface, having sat out the 2017-18 upfront bazaar.

It’s a big hole to replace and while Viagra has been off TV, Cialis still is advertising, but hasn’t bought any time on NFL broadcasts this season choosing to air ads on Fox Sports like the U.S. Open golf tournament, MLB and NASCAR.

Erectile dysfunction ads have been airing on NFL games dating back to 2004, but it now appears that their presence will be receding and we won’t have them to kick around anymore.

Who can forget this Viagra ad that was catered to NFL viewers with a woman wearing a jersey that had Detroit Lions colors?

Or the Cialis ads showing a couple in separate bathtubs on a cliff? And who put those bathtubs there? And how did they fill them with water outside? Those tubs are really heavy!

[Advertising Age]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

  • Saber Khai

    “It’s a big hole to replace and while Viagra has been off TV,”

    A big hole to replace? Are we not doing phrasing anymore?

    • golffan1963

      I didn’t get that far. I stopped at “tepid and limp”. What classless writing.

  • Sarah Katherine

    He said “pulling out,” huh-huh, huh-huh-huh. And is the 16 on her jersey short for 0-16? #HaIKillMe

  • Septic Bladder

    It’s a shame the FDA in the US forces any prescription advertisement to waste time on all potential side effects.
    In Canada, they do not. So they can get creative ads like this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoHhso6i7TY