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NASHVILLE SKYLINE: Nashville Cats: Bunch of Old Guys Popping Viagra?
That's What the Latest Prop-It-Up TV Commercial Suggests
Nashville Skyline
Nashville Skyline
Editor's note: Chet Flippo is on vacation and will return with a new column next week. In his absence, here's a reprise of a popular Nashville Skyline column that ran on July 10, 2008.

(NASHVILLE SKYLINE is a column by CMT/CMT.com Editorial Director Chet Flippo.)

When did Viagra commercials start to look like beer commercials? A new Viagra TV commercial dramatically begins with the on-screen graphic "Nashville 1:22 AM" and then it shows a gaggle of old, graying studio musicians who are ostensibly singing about their ever-loving wives at home but are obviously lusting after the luscious young Music Row babes that their own failing erectile equipment deny them access to. So they're heartily saluting the little blue pill that makes a vestige of eternal youth possible, one that allows old guys to make at least a few more last stands.

These old studio guys have made some money, so they all have cherry '65 Mustang convertibles or vintage Harleys or even a vintage Porsche or two. What they don't have is what they most want. And that is something that is wasted on young men. It's what Viagra is thumping with commercials like this one. What the targets of this commercial really need -- and I am offering this suggestion to Viagra free of charge -- is a little lead in their pencils. Pencil companies, please get in line. Oysters in the diet, perhaps?

I'm not the only person to wonder why this Nashville-themed commercial, as part of a current series of Viagra ads, has no women in it. This commercial depicts a bunch of supposed Nashville studio pickers getting together to sing "Viva Viagra" at 1:22 in the morning and to trade meaningful glances with each other. What's going on here? Is this actually some kind of weird private club down on Demonbreun? Where they do strange Viagra things behind closed doors? You can just imagine the brainstorming session that led to this gem: "Good times! Good fun! The guys will all get together and pop some Viagra and see what pops up!" You kind of expect the old guys to break into "Strangers in the Night." Or "Hard Times."

And, to get off-point for a minute, I am greatly disappointed that another Elvis song, as slight as this one may be, is now ruined forever for me and for the entire Elvis audience. Can you ever again listen to "Viva Las Vegas" without some petty associations now coming to mind? Lisa Marie Presley, to her everlasting credit, is not happy with the song's sale to Viagra. She was quoted as saying, "I find it revolting. Some songs we have no control over, and I know we didn't license that one."

Studio pickers that I know would never, ever, not even in any alternative universe, willingly get together to pick and sing any variation of "Viva Las Vegas." At 1:22 a.m. or at any other time. Although in this case, since the musicians are obviously being paid (well-paid, I hope), the music itself is first rate. The musicians are all top flight, including such bluegrass legends as banjoist Eric Weissberg and fiddler Kenny Kosek.

But back to the issue of the commercial message itself, were penile pep pills ever a matter of privacy between two bedroom partners? Or are they yet just another marvelous product to be peddled and celebrated in group song, like Jägermeister or Budweiser used to be?

Is getting together for communal "Viva Viagra" sing-songs with other manly men something that that all upright dudes in Nashville should be doing?

Earlier this year, the major TV networks refused to air commercials for Trojan condoms in prime time, but they have had no problems with running ads for get-it-up pills. Tell me the crucial underlying political message there.

And what do you tell your young child who asks you, "Daddy, what's an erection lasting for more than four hours?"

I think it's obvious the networks rejected the Trojan ads because condoms are regarded by many influential people in high places as birth control devices and AIDS prevention devices for the lower classes and other undesirables. Penile poppers, on the other hand, can lead to pregnancy and STDs. No matter. It can be argued, as the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has, that the Viva Viagra commercials promote Viagra as a party drug rather than as a serious medication. Viagra parent company Pfizer has dismissed that allegation, saying in so many PR-words that Viagra allows erectile-deficient sufferers to sort of, you know, openly discuss their plight with doctors and stuff. Big deal? Or not amounting to much?

I am frankly surprised that Viagra or Cialis hasn't tried to license Connie Smith's classic country hit "Once a Day" to use in a commercial: "Once a day, all day long/And once a night, from dusk till dawn." Now that, my friend, would be a lasting, and memorable, erection.

I totally discount rumors I have heard that the penile pepper-uppers might be considering looking at the classic gospel song "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus" for use in commercials to appeal to the Christian music audience. But you never know what those wily marketers might be up to.
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