Ad Stars 2011

Mar 01, 2011

As with most everything in life, there are always two sides to every story, two dissenting views on a situation. What might be repulsive to some (peeing on the side of the road) may resonate with others (peeing on the side of the road!).

It's no different in pharma advertising, where innovation has been slowly stifled by rampant cost-cutting throughout the industry. It is this showcase of creativity in an otherwise trying environment that makes this year's Ad Stars all the more impressive. In fact, succeeding in a resource-constrained environment is something to be lauded: "Tighter budgets encourage innovation. People need to work a bit harder to get business," says Jay Carter, senior VP and director of strategy services at AbelsonTaylor.

This year's group proves innovation has not been held back in the face of adversity. From the clever use of a CFC light bulb, to a baby with telekinetic powers, to a trailing dark cloud, messages were relayed loud and clear to consumers.

Of course, nothing about the creative process is simple; it takes time, trials, and effort to bring an effective idea to light. But being simple yet effective is key, according to Al Topin of Topin Associates (see "The Brand Promotion Gauntlet").
According to Topin, simple delivers clarity, leads to relevance, and enables big ideas that are memorable—and, hey, what's the point of an advertisement if it's not memorable, right?

For Carter, what's complicated isn't a deterrent at all. "The industry has always been regulated. The invasiveness of the regulations waxes and wanes, but it is a constant. For me, finding things that work brilliantly in the face of regulation is part of the fun, part of the challenge."

Ad Stars 2011 is the story of the people behind the best of pharma advertising over the past year. It gives credit where credit is due to those who developed, wrote, shot, and designed the spots you've seen all over television, in print, and online. These are the people who help bring the compelling messages to the forefront. It's their job to find out what it feels like to be the BPH sufferer, the depressed soccer mom, or the spasmodic child. And they've done a masterful job. The following pages are Pharm Exec's way of applauding them.

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