Death is COVID-19’s biggest danger, but for men, there’s a lesser-known threat to come from the coronavirus: flaccid penises.
That’s the message of this new vaccine PSA that drops ahead of National Impotency Month. The film features a string of guys waxing nostalgic about the first moment they experienced an erection as well as other memorable times they had hard-ons. But their maudlin musings are brutally interrupted by a group of urologists presenting a startling statistic: men who contract COVID-19 are six times more likely to get erectie dysfunction. A celebrity cameo from “Saturday Night Live” vet Tim Meadows underscores the urgency of their message: “I would cut off my own dick to protect my future boners!” he says.
Subscribe to Ad Age for award-winning advertising and marketing news.
Naturally, the way to “save the future boners,” the spot preaches, is to get the COVID-19 vaccine. “Trust us,” the white-coated professionals say in the ad. “We’re penis doctors.”
The message comes from Urologists United for Vaccine Education, a medical professionals group that was founded alongside the creation of the ad, by Chicago-based small agency Quality Meats.
The shop’s founders, Gordy Sang and Brian Siedband, had been looking to create a coronavirus vaccine campaign that would resonate with the Gen Z population when they stumbled across the statistic tying the virus to E.D. Sang and Siedband had originally approached government agencies and brands with the idea for the PSA but realized that the message would resonate more strongly if it came directly from the experts themselves. So the pair set about contacting some of the country’s top urologists, leading to the creation of the new doctors’ organization.
“We wanted any and all urologists to be on board,” Sang said. He and Siedband got introductions through friends or approached doctors directly on Twitter. “Once we were able to chat with them on the phone or Zoom they became very excited and passionate about the project, and they opened the doors to other like-minded doctors.”
Those featured in the ad include Dr. Amy Pearlman, a board-certified urologist and men's sexual health specialist, Dr. Brian Le, associate professor of urology at University of Wisconsin-Madison and Dr. Larry Levin, professor of urology at Rush University Medical Center. "I was on board as soon as I heard the idea," said Levin in a statement. “Given all the misinformation out there, we’d rather people get facts from us, doctors who’ve devoted their lives to studying the penis, than rumors from Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend in Trinidad."
As for bringing Tim Meadows on board, that was an unexpected bonus, Sang said. The director of the spot, Brad Morris, is also an actor and writer formerly of Second City who is friends with Meadows. “We thought the idea could stand on its own without a celebrity, but with the right one it would be even stronger,” Sang said. “And Tim is the right one.”