Wellness startup’s generic Viagra ads flout Facebook rules

The Facebook login screen on a Web browser.

On television and radio, the ads are fairly innocuous: “Hey guy,” a female narrator says playfully in one TV spot for Hims, a men’s wellness brand that sells prescription drugs to treat erectile dysfunction, oral herpes, social anxiety, hair loss, and other conditions. “Hi there. Welcome to Hims.”

The ad invites viewers to “get ED treatment started for only $5,” next to a close-up of a young man pressing a white pill seductively to his lips. What appear to be customer reviews are superimposed over the image: “Should have done it years ago and I feel like the young stud that I always imagined I was,” says one. “Outstanding product, works above and beyond our expectations,” reads another.

Much like other ads for Hims—and its sister brand, Hers, which sells prescription drugs and wellness products for women—that are broadcast on television, radio, podcasts, or appear in print or on billboards, this ad is rather generic. It describes a medical problem, alludes to the company’s business model—which skips a trip to the doctor in favor of an “online visit” with a physician—and invites the viewer to check out its website for more details.

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