Lincoln, Digger, and the Rest of the Gang

We asked seven industry experts to talk about today's best (and worst) pharma icons
Jan 01, 2008
By Pharmaceutical Executive Editors

Jamie Cobb, executive creative director, Micromass: When used to represent a brand, an icon should evoke strong associations and specific attributes, both emotionally and rationally. For these reasons, I think Lunesta has hit the mark with its use of the moth. The characteristics and behavior of the icon match well with the product attributes—calm, gentle, comforting sleep. Paired with the brand's execution of the creative and the seamless consumer and professional media strategy, it's no wonder this campaign is one of the most recognized.

Steven Goldstein, managing partner, LHG: The one that really came to mind for me as the most memorable and powerful was the Lovenox shark. It's not totally current, but to me it's far better than anything out there. It's an image of platelets and fibers linking together in the shape of a shark. It shows instantly and urgently the danger of a clot that can kill. It doesn't even need words, but the original words that went with it were beautiful: "When a killer clot threatens, Lovenox wastes no time." It's just one of the most powerful images that I've ever seen. And I know they've stuck with it; they've used the shark again in other ads in the series over time. It's just an icon that I wish I had done. I don't know that there are any other icons in the recent past that have had the longevity of the Lovenox shark. There's a lot of good stuff out there, but this one stands out.

Michael Sanzen, partner, director of creative services, Concentric: The Viagra blue-diamond pill is a great example of a company thinking about building a brand from the earliest stages of product development. I think one of the reasons you see so many cartoon characters, apples, bulldogs, and things like that in this business is because we don't have something tangible to show and to sell that evokes an emotion. That's why I love the blue-diamond Viagra pill. It gives us something tangible that actually does speak to some of the benefits of the product. It's premium; it's romantic. And it's something that I will give the agency and the marketing team credit for recognizing and showcasing in every piece. If you think about their messaging and look at their materials today, like the consumer Web site—not to be crass—but the word hard is everywhere. It's a tasteful way to talk about quality, romance, and now, ultimately, firmness.

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