AndroGel ad, Low T and Smokey the Bear

SmokeyCurrently there is an ad running on most US television networks for AndroGel. It’s a full 90 second ad that starts off with a man getting something off his chest; he has low T: “There, I said it” he states proudly. For the rest of the ad he and, we assume, his wife go about frolicking on a drive to the country. No further mention is made of his problem during the rest of the ad, but after significant research I can tell you that low T is not a lighter version of High Tea, but a lack of testosterone.


The ad is all fine and dandy until the last romantic scene in which the loving couple light a lantern that is attached to a balloon thing and set if free in the woods. I was never a Boy Scout, but even I could see the potential disaster this could cause. A makeshift dirigible with a flame floating above, one hopes, flora and perhaps fauna.  For a seasoned professional’s point of view on this I contacted forest fire expert Smokey the Bear for his take.

I’m very pleased this gentlemen has come to grips with his problem, and that he has a loving, patient woman by his side. But I would have preferred it if they had checked into any of the many honeymoon suites in our great national parks to give that testosterone boost a workout rather than launch an incendiary device in celebration. This can only have a couple of possible outcomes; the obvious forest fire or, should the flame fizzle and go out mid-flight (a concept he must be familiar with given his medication), a litter violation. If it’s the latter I would refer you to my colleague, Woodsy Owl, of “give a hoot, don’t pollute” fame. But either way I feel certain McGruff the Crime Dog is going to be involved.

Here we have an ad that made it through countless meetings and was no doubt vetted by umpteen ad agency and client representatives, yet no one caught the obvious. I suspect that’s because most people were still trying to figure out what the hell low T meant!

Published by DCMontreal

DCMontreal - Deegan Charles Stubbs - is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

2 thoughts on “AndroGel ad, Low T and Smokey the Bear

  1. I’ve written to Androgel’s ad agency (AbbVie), asking them to replace that foolish “firestarter” scene with something more sane. Alas, they have not responded in three months. So let’s keep at ’em before some idiot copies the stupid scene and torches a forest! Go to the Androgel site and send an email of protest.

  2. What a great blog post! Where’s there’s fire there’s probably someone who’s gonna get burned…

    According to its manufacturer, AbbVie, “AndroGel® (testosterone gel) 1% and 1.62% are controlled substances, available by prescription, used to treat adult males who have low or no testosterone.” The AndroGel website offers the following ten question yes-no quiz to see whether a man “should talk to” his “doctor about Low Testosterone:”

    1. Do you have a decrease in libido (sex drive)?
    2. Do you have a lack of energy?
    3. Do you have a decrease in strength and/or endurance?
    4. Have you lost height?
    5. Have you noticed a decrease in your enjoyment of life?
    6. Are you sad and/or grumpy?
    7. Are your erections less strong?
    8. Have you noticed a recent deterioration in your ability to play sports?
    9. Are you falling asleep after dinner?
    10. Has there been a recent deterioration in your work performance?

    The ten questions might just as well ask, “Are you getting old?” or “Are you naturally aging?” Snake oil salesmen have been selling fountain of youth elixirs since people starting getting old. Fortunately, most snake oils are only harmful to the purchaser’s wallet as many of the alleged aging cures are harmless. However, once in a while a potion does contain harmful ingredients or actual medicinal compounds which have major physiological effects. AndroGel seems to be promoted as the cure for a newly discovered disease called, “Low T.” However, its safety is in question.

    On January 31, 2014, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Safety Announcement regarding testosterone products. This communication stated, “At this time, FDA has not concluded that FDA-approved testosterone treatment increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, or death. Patients should not stop taking prescribed testosterone products without first discussing any questions or concerns with their health care professionals. Health care professionals should consider whether the benefits of FDA-approved testosterone treatment is likely to exceed the potential risks of treatment. The prescribing information in the drug labels of FDA-approved testosterone products should be followed.” While the beginning of this Safety Announcement might not seem alarming, the FDA further states, “None of the FDA-approved testosterone products are approved for use in men with low testosterone levels who lack an associated medical condition. FDA-approved testosterone formulations include the topical gel, transdermal patch, buccal system (applied to upper gum or inner cheek), and injection.”

    What is “an associated medical condition?” The manufacturers of some testosterone products would have one believe that Low T (the condition of having low testosterone levels) is an associated medical condition to the condition of having low testosterone. If you think this is strange logic, you would be correct. There are some who feel that the manufacturers of some testosterone products, realizing that they had a profitable “cure” for a disease that did not exist, simply invented a disease with ten associated symptoms (see quiz above). Recent studies have shown that certain groups of men taking testosterone will have increased risks of stroke and heart attack. Lawsuits are now being filed against the manufacturers of some testosterone products and for failing to warn consumers about the deadly harm that testosterone can cause. Without getting technical, testosterone has been shown to increase the red blood count (thickening of the blood) which can cause clotting issues leading to stroke and heart attack.

    If your physician has prescribed testosterone for you, you should immediately discuss whether you truly need it and whether there are safer alternative drugs. After weighing the risks and benefits, you and your physician can determine what drug, if any, is best for you.

    If you or a loved one, have taken AndroGel, and have suffered a stroke, you should immediately consult with his physician and then consult with an attorney who is experienced in handling such a matter.

    – Paul

    Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
    Attorney at Law, Physician

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