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Sex Pill Starts Saudi Scandal
By: Jeff Louis
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A deep-voiced man arrives home after a long day at work to find his wife and children gathered around a table. Ah, the family. He greets and exchanges a few words in Arabic with his wife and then asks about the children. She replies: "They’ve finished all their chores, and you, Abu Faisel, don't forget your chore."

He looks at the kids, smiles, and with wife in tow, ostensibly heads for the bedroom to knock out the nagging "chore" that awaits. The spot ends with a product shot of Snafi that claims it does "the job" and promises 36 hours of "stiffness."

Sounds like things are tough in Saudi Arabia; the only thing waiting for me after a hard day of work is the promise of some sort of dinner and reality TV programming that comes from New Jersey.

Poor Abu Faisel has to complete his chore! The spot is for a Viagra-type pill named Snafi, and it left those who saw it in silent shock, not because of the promise of a 36-hour erection, but due to its airing on the government-funded state TV network, Channel One.

The silence didn't last long: Thousands of Saudi citizens registered complaints, outraged over the sexual nature of the ad on the state channel. Many claimed Channel One was getting as bad as the country's privately owned television networks.

Culturally, the commercial is very tame in comparison to U.S. standards, although it probably wouldn't have aired 10 years ago. Depending on your view, this shows how far we've fallen or progressed in respect to what is acceptable in our culture. In any event, whether the spot ever runs again in Saudi Arabia is inconsequential. It's already a success, traveling around the world via non-paid media. Whereas only thousands may have seen the original, it's likely that hundreds of thousands have seen it now as it makes headlines worldwide, propelling Snafi into the international spotlight. The attention it has gained is something of which many advertisers can only dream. Sigh.  

Not to mention that the commercial broke through a cultural barrier in The Kingdom; thus, the "damage" is done.

Why are 36-hour erections safe in Saudi Arabia when similar products sold in the U.S. warn that four-hour erections warrant a visit to the emergency room? A doctor after a measly four hours?




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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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