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What B2B marketers can learn from Viagra Spam

B2B email marketiing subject lines
Viagra spammers have a tough challenge. They know that if they can get their message to a few billion people, a few thousand morons will place an order. But they also know that spam filters all over the world are set specifically to prevent them from doing so.

One of the toughest hurdles: the email subject line. Just like any B2B marketer, their subject lines have to meet a few critical criteria:

• they have to attract attention
• they have to deliver the main benefit
• they have to vary so recipients don’t feel they’ve already deleted this one
• they have to avoid words that clearly signal spam
• they have to inject a sense of urgency

Sound like a familiar set of criteria?

Well, maybe we B2B marketers can learn a few things from the resourceful, highly committed folks peddling (mostly fake) Viagra.

Here are some of the compelling subject lines I’ve received in the last 60 days, grouped by strategy, with a few illuminating notes. In the immortal words of the first legitimate Viagra marketing campaign, let the dance begin:

The brand appeal
“High quality Pfizer”  [Simple but a bit dull -- and doesn't Pfizer make other drugs too?]

The medical approach
“Dr Max make your penis on 3cm more!”    [No offence, Dr Max but could I see that Med school diploma?]
“For sure, you will feel more pleasure after of a short course of enhancing.” [I don't doubt it.]

The caveman
“Become the carnal monster”     [I want to please my partner, not EAT her]
“Increase your phallic strength”     [Not sure heavy lifting is the point, but the towel trick does impress]
“Larger bone today”  [A personal favourite. It's got it all.]
“You need Blue-Pill”    [“Tarzan be back in moment. Jane don’t move.”]

The say what?
“If there will be only girls around, will you be ready?”     [If there will be only girls around, erections will be the least of my problems.]

The Top Gear appeal
“Full control of your love stick.”    [I'd settle for partial control]
“Empower your pollinator.”      [New meaning to the term 'deflower']

The highly personal
“Your wife take deep.”     [Hey, back off buddie.]
“Your wife need your attention? Solve all the problems with IT.” [How can the techies help?]
“You want to impress your girlfriend tonight?”  [I thought this was about my wife]

Translated by Google
“Does your cock renounce to work? Bring through him to this illness!”      [From Chairman Mao's little blue book?]
“Any, even the most dirty desires will come true with our male enhancing set”
“Your private xxx life will be so good that you wont help from boasting it.”

The poetic
“Become master of amorous genre”     [You and Kahlil Gibran]
“Empower your body for love”        [Julio Iglesias lyric]
“Turn your bedroom life into a volcano of pleasure”    [Rubber sheets recommended]
“Add more spice to your bedroom life”
“Have Great Long Spicy Nights in Bed!”
“IT consultant of perfect love making art”  [Again with the IT guys…]

The nudge-nudge, wink-wink
“Back-and-forth all night!”
[This could have been spam for ping-pong tables – I didn’t open it]

The endearingly enthusiastic
“This is what you need for sex!”    [bless]
“Solving ALL love making problems in a matter of few minutes”

FUD
“Your weekend will not be good without good nights” [They have a point.]
“Make sure that you made your woman happy tonight.”
“Over 10 million men made their women happy, and you?”  [As long as 10 million men didn’t make MY woman happy]
“Impotency has broken thousand of families. Protect your home!”    [You know, you're right. I want to be a responsible father.]
“What’s Your Hall of Shame.”     [Hmmm... the hall... never thought of that.]

The playground taunt
“Hey, are you the guy who cannot make love?”   [Okay asshole, step outside]

And these are only from the last 60 days.

The B2B Principles of Viagra Spammer
What have we learned here? Well, there’s so much to take away but here are some pre-digested principles for the lazy:

  • If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again – Viagra spammers never give up
  • Keep that thesaurus close to hand – if you have a hand free
  • When in doubt, use an exclamation point! – it always creates excitement!
  • Refrain, at all costs, from using the term “love stick’ – even if it is one of your SEO keyphrases
  • It’s okay to sell through fear – but try to stop short of outright public humiliation of your target audience

Onward and… um… upwards.

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