'Asking for a Friend' centres on the insight that despite ED affecting up to 52% of men, they are generally ashamed to talk about it
Men’s health startup Roman recently collaborated with NY-based creative agency Circus Maximus for its latest integrated campaign, Asking for a Friend. The campaign consists of out-of-home placements as well as TV and radio spots with the goals of driving awareness of Roman as an affordable way to receive treatment for ED and break the stigma around ED by letting men know that they aren’t alone.
The campaign centres on the insight that despite ED affecting up to 52% of men, they are generally ashamed to talk about it even with their doctors, leading to the common alibi that their “friends” are the ones who are curious. Circus Maximus leveraged that refrain with its signature humour, with OOH placements pointing out that “Apparently 0% of men experience erectile dysfunction, but 52% have a “friend” who wants to learn more.”
The TV spots, were produced by Superprime Films and Alpen Films and they debut on cable starting this week, are directed by Saturday Night Live and Funny or Die veteran Mike Bernstein. They subvert traditional video adverts by having the men respond directly to the narrator, giving away who they’re really referring to when they say their “friends” experience ED.
“Sometimes humour can be a great icebreaker. I knew how lost I was when I first experienced ED and so we tried to think of a way to have Roman spread as far and as wide as possible,” says Roman CEO and co-founder, Zachariah Reitano. “The guys in the commercial have a hard time talking about ED. But, talking about ED doesn't have to be hard — that's why we built Roman.”
Ryan Kutscher, founder and Executive Creative Director of Circus Maximus expands: “Culturally, there’s already a shift happening where toxic masculinity and ignoring your health problems is fading. Part of Roman’s mission since launching has been to destigmatize ED and help men take control of their health.”
Roman previously worked with Circus Maximus on the brand’s launch campaign titled Thinly Veiled Metaphors that debuted in December 2017 (receiving over 1.3M views online).
Director Bernstein elaborates: "Last time was about dismantling many of the old stereotypes that brands relied on to discuss ED. This time we went straight to the source, shifting our focus to real men, and found humour in how uncomfortable and awkward it can be to discuss it out in the real world. The hard truth is there’s still a lot of shame around it, so it was really important to Circus Maximus and all of us that we enter that conversation with the goal of normalising it. That’s the tone."