If you saw Eminem’s prescription parody advertisements for his Revival album and initially assumed they were for an actual pharmaceutical drug, you’re not alone. Before Em’s manager Paul Rosenberg more or less let the cat out of the bag by posting the fake Revival ad on his Instagram feed, there was at least one party concerned enough about the ads to keep them off of network television.
“We did ad buys on SNL in a few markets,” confirmed Interscope VP Dennis Dennehy, while talking with Adweek. “New York wouldn’t let us run it because they thought it was too on the money and misleading, which in retrospect is pretty great.”
Even for those who missed Rosenberg Instagram post, Eminem’s tweet and Complex’s Speedy Morman crash the Revival booth at ComplexCon, there were plenty of Easter eggs hidden in the Revival ads.
The malady that Revival supposedly cures—Atrox Rithimus—won’t show up in any medical terminology book because it doesn’t exist. Per David Gianatasio of Adweek, the phrase is Latin for “bitter rhyme.”
So while viewers never got a direct Eminem reference, as Interscope and the Deutsch advertising agency opted for those faux user testimonials, the trained eye could probably tell something was afoot. After all, the ads started mysteriously popping up after Em’s Trump-bashing 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards freestyle went viral.
“There had been so much speculation about an album coming that we knew his fans keep an eye out for any clues,” Dennehy added. “And of course, drugs, especially of the pharmaceutical variety, are a theme that runs through so much of his work. The album name fit perfectly.”
If Dennehy’s claims are true, then according to the governing body that oversees what television ads get approved, the strategy was executed perfectly as well.