Ad Stars

Pharm Exec honors the most innovative, creative, and thought-provoking ads of 2006—and the people who created them.
Mar 01, 2007

CREATING A BREAKTHROUGH PHARMA CAMPAIGN in today's world of me-too (and me-three and -four) drugs—not to mention marketing mania—forces brand teams to think of new ways to capture consumer and physician attention. In the sleep and cholesterol categories, the competition is so fierce that agencies are using talking beavers and comparing food to family members to stamp brands on consumer brains. Ad agencies dug deep into their creative cache to deliver campaigns that are compelling, visually stimulating, even hilarious. This is also the first time that two animated healthcare ads have cracked our list of Ad Stars. Also, more high-quality health Web sites are being developed to provide patients with tons of data in easy-to-swallow capsules of video and audio streams. This year's Ad Stars prove that it takes more than footage of people frolicking merrily on the beach (as a list of side effects scroll across the screen) to get consumers to consider a drug or physicians to prescribe a brand. It takes innovation. Excitement. A great creative team. These are the Ad Stars of 2007.

Abelson Taylor
BRAND Amevive CLIENT Astellas
LEFT TO RIGHT: Therese Amaginot, associate creative director, Angie Bauerle, senior art director, Rachel Lomasz, senior copywriter, Amanda Acevedo, senior art director

It's the ultimate challenge for ad execs: How do you tell the story of a drug's mechanism of action without drowning the ad in a swamp of data?

AbelsonTaylor solved the riddle with its creative for Astellas' psoriasis treatment Amevive (alefacept). Amevive works by blocking certain T cells and, in the process, the inflammation and other immune responses that fuel psoriasis flareups. But explaining this process in an ad without it becoming too wonky "is not an easy thing to do," says Therese Amaginot, associate creative director.

AbelsonTaylor used a three-page format, which provided the space for some dramatic action—and a touch of parody. To show that Amevive was literally a natural-born killer (of pathogenic immune cells), AbelsonTaylor hired actors to personify vikings and other assorted legendary slayers. The ad opened with a shot of dead T cells stabbed by swords, followed by a spread of the warriors, dressed in historical garb grabbed from movies like The Last Samurai.

The ad team says that amid all the sword-play, hitting the right tone was key. "We're just poking a little fun at ourselves," Amaginot says. "In this day and age, we didn't want it to be too violent, so we added a little personality to the ad—and it really struck a nice balance."

LEFT TO RIGHT: Robert Roth, account director, Joan Zulawski, senior vice president, group management director, Deborah Katz, product promotions manager, hepatology (Roche)

Powerful ads backed by bold media placement enabled the unbranded hepatitis C campaign developed by DraftFCB for Roche to reach a patient population often resistant to action.

"The challenge of this assignment was to speak to a group of people who knew they were infected with hepatitis C, but were choosing not to pursue treatment options," explains Rachel Birnbaum, copy writer for DraftFCB.

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