tylenol pm – gay couple

This is an ad for Tylenol-PM, a pain medication that is taken at night to help with sleep. The ad depicts the bare torsos of two men who are sharing the same bed. It implores potential buyers to not only think about how their pain is affecting their own sleep, but how it affects their partner’s sleep as well: “His boyfriend’s backache is keeping him up.”


Consider the significance of this gay-oriented ad for a major-market pain reliever. Do you think it is a big deal that the ad features gay men? Or does it not really matter? If the second, does the fact that it does not really matter have any significance within contemporary society?

Why do you think the ad used the word “boyfriend” rather than “husband” in this ad? What does this say about the nature of gay relationships in contemporary America?

Why do you think they cut off the faces of the men? Do you believe this has some specific meaning? Is it a specific strategy used by the marketers? Why or why not?


This intimate advertisement for a major pharmaceutical brand indicates a progressive cultural change in how LGBT relationships are perceived in society. The fact that the term “boyfriend”, rather than “husband”, is used in the ad seems to add additional significance. It seems to point subtly to the fact that gay marriage is still just out of grasp for many LGBT couples in America.

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