The Best and Funniest Medical Drug Commercials of All Time

Every year, the FDA only approves about twenty to thirty new drugs. But getting their products to the store shelves isn’t the end of the struggle for pharmaceutical companies who want to sell more medication.

They have to turn to forms of advertising to spread knowledge of their medication, both to doctors through the use of pharmaceutical representatives, and to patients through the use of traditional advertising.

Drug commercials are particularly challenging to make. Marketers have to deal with talking about illnesses and frequently have to recount a lengthy list of side effects.

With the FDA waiting for companies to slip up, creating creative ways to advertise their products is one of the biggest challenges in the pharmaceutical industry.

It’s amazing what these companies come up with to respond to that challenge. Let’s take a look!

The Best Drug Commercials of All Time

Trying to capture the value of a medication while communicating its side effects, all in a thirty-second time-slot can be difficult for advertisers.

But, some companies have struck gold. Let’s take a look at some of the most successful pharmaceutical advertising campaigns in history.


Zoloft asked illustrator Pat Smith to come up with a cute, but simple way to market their products. He came up with the design of a simple black and white circle displaying the symptoms of depression.

The dot moves through life without color but at the end of the advertisement, color begins to creep in as plants and bugs become visible to the dot. This subtle change throughout the commercial is similar to how Zoloft is meant to subtly lift you out of depression.


When concerned that their brand’s commercials wouldn’t be shown on television if they were too sexy, Cialis went the route of placing two bathtubs with people in them next to each other and looking out at a view.

While the image has very little to do with erectile dysfunction, the campaign got noticed and the two bathtubs have become an iconic symbol in the advertising industry.


Staying healthy can be difficult and things like cholesterol levels are hard to understand. That’s why the brand Vytorin hired DDB to come up with an advertising campaign that would help to educate their customers about their product.

DDB came up with the idea of pairing up images of family members dressed up with foods that are similarly colored as a way of showing that they both contribute to your cholesterol levels. A healthy diet has to be combined with the right heritage in order to be successful.

Vytorin was shown to help with controlling cholesterol that is made naturally by your body as well so the cholesterol that comes from food. The point is well made with this commercial.


Epanova is a medication used to manage triglyceride levels. It’s made by AstraZeneca, one of the largest names in the pharmaceutical industry. As such, they were able to hire DigitasLBi to create a playful campaign to market their new product.

The resulting commercial uses two talking fish to inform potential patients about the medication and it was so successful, it won the Cannes Lions Health competition for advertising in 2015.


If you watch television much at all, you have probably seen a commercial for Cymbalta. While many of their advertisements feature puppies suffering at the lack of care from depressed owners, there are other ways they market as well.

In fact, in one of their campaign videos they featured a piece of classical music that many people felt so strongly about, they began to Google it. You can even find YouTube videos today of people trying to learn how to play the piece.

The Funniest Drug Commercials of All Time

While humor might work for the following companies, that might not be the best way to grow a business. Check out “Marketing for Medical Practices” to learn better tactics.

And now, without ado, let’s take a look at the funniest pharmaceutical commercials of all time.


Viagra is known for having some of the funniest commercials of all time. The company loves to use seductive looking glances and suggestive motions to communicate the purpose of their little blue pill.

But perhaps the funniest part of Viagra commercials comes at the end when the speaker begins to speed up his reading and mentions that erections can last up to four hours. Imagining a four-hour erection is quite comical and has led to many parody videos online.

In fact, both Ben Stiller and Ellen DeGeneres have Viagra parody ads on Youtube.


Challenged with creating a commercial for an insomnia medication, the agency Cramer-Krasselt decided to push the limits. They placed Abraham Lincoln, an old-fashioned deep-sea diver, and a beaver around a kitchen table as a quirky way to represent your dreams.

The commercial is a friendly reminder that your dreams miss you when you don’t sleep and it uses the voices of the characters to gently suggest that the man should visit his doctor to find out more information.


Detrol is a medication prescribed to help people who suffer from frequent urination. The commercials would show people jumping up and down needing to go to the bathroom at the worst of times, like during jury duty.

The campaign featured the catchy slogan, “Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now!” which many people easily recognize to this day. The ads spurred on plenty of spoofs.

More Interesting Articles

Now that you have read about these funny drug commercials and successful advertising campaigns, you have a better understanding of how difficult it is to market these products.

If you’re looking for more helpful information, check out our blog for more posts today.

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