Answer Man

July 19, 2014

Answer Man: Why show separate bathtubs for Cialis ad?

Answer Man

Got questions? You've come to the right place

I'm curious: Just what is the deal with the couple ending up in separate bathtubs on the beach in the Cialis ads? I'd really like your response. -- Bob Astroth, of Breese

If you're spoiling for an argument, you won't get a rise out of me.

I swear even the first time I saw those silly Cialis scenarios, I thought to myself: Is there anything less sexy (and less likely to happen) than two lovers sitting naked out in the open holding hands in cold -- and separate!! -- bathtubs?

Why not whip up a scene of satin sheets on a king-size bed? Or, if you want to emphasize older folks, how about a roll in ze hay with Frau Blucher (cue the horses)? Somehow sitting by yourself in a hard, clawfoot tub (which to me appears otherwise empty), I don't think you'd have to worry about suffering one of those four-hour-plus erections they're obligated to warn you about.

But here's the problem: If you're hired by a drug company, how do you advertise products like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra? They all treat male sexual dysfunction. But how can you sensitively convey that message without children across the country being sent to their rooms every time it comes on -- yet also in such a way that your pill stands out from the crowd?

If you think about it, then, the bathtub motif is pure genius. First, even a shot of heads poking up from the rear of the tub implies an erotic nakedness without showing it (which, of course, you can't).

More important, a benefit of Cialis is that its effects last for a while. The bathtubs say, "Hey, take the pill and then enjoy a nice, leisurely soak -- you'll still be able to set off the fireworks later." Besides (and I apologize if this is sexist) the lure of a bath probably appeals more to women, so it may influence what product they suggest to their significant other than had they seen a Viagra man hitting a grand slam.

So, from an advertising standpoint, I think you answered your own question. Although the setting is ridiculous, you now have the product firmly implanted in your brain and you know what it does. Even if you temporarily forget the name, you always can ask a druggist for that "pill with the tubs."

And that, my friend, is why Lilly-ICOS likely won't be taking a financial bath with it anytime soon.

Why are weathermen called meteorologists? Is this from the Middle Ages because people studied the skies looking for meteors? When I took climate study in college, it was called climatology. Being a climatologist seems more relevant and accurate, despite NOAA and TV. -- J.R., of O'Fallon

I hope the ghost of Aristotle, that great Greek philosopher-scientist, doesn't haunt you tonight.

He might be a little perturbed you forgot that way back in about 340 B.C., he wrote a major work that contained his theories about the earth sciences, including water evaporation, earthquakes -- and weather phenomena. He called it "Meteorologica."

Back then because of a lack of understanding, "meteora" simply meant "things in the air." They apparently included snow, rain and hail as well as stars and comets. The Greeks believed heavenly events, which they couldn't explain, caused the weather -- hence, "meteorology," the study of those things.

So, because most of his work dealt with weather, meteorology became forever linked with the science of weather. When meteors came to mean those fireballs we sometimes call shooting stars in about 1600, they were tossed into the realm of astronomy.

Those who deliver the weather on TV have seen a similar evolution. As a child, I watched people with no particular scientific expertise stand next to an actual U.S. or state map filled with little smiling suns or clouds that looked like Old Man Winter to give the forecast.

Old-timers will remember KSD's Dianne White, the first African-American weather forecaster in the nation, according to Frank Absher's www.stlmediahistory.org. You also may remember Pat Fontaine, who wound up for a brief time as a "Today" girl on NBC in the early '60s. (As the "weather girl" on KMOX-TV, she appeared on the Nov. 19, 1959, edition of "To Tell the Truth." Absher also remembers one local DJ spoofing her as Fat Pontoon.)

Now, of course, all such personalities must have scientific degrees as they talk about virga and wall clouds while dazzling us with radar that shows everything from rain and hail to lightning and tornado hooks.

I wonder what Ari would think?

Today's trivia

What color clothing can TV meteorologists usually not wear?

Answer to Saturday's trivia: "Promise her anything, but give her Arpege." That ad slogan has been music to women's ears since Jeanne Lanvin introduced the perfume in 1927. No wonder: The name "Arpege" is derived from the musical term "arpeggio" -- playing the notes of a chord in quick succession rather than all at once. That's what the perfume reportedly does, too, as it gives off the scent of some 60 floral essences. By the way, it reportedly was made to celebrate her daughter's 30th birthday.

Send your questions to Roger Schlueter, Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427 or rschlueter@bnd.com or call 618-239-2465.

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