"The ads that stood out had the strongest design," says Charlotte Noruzi, group art supervisor of Flashpoint Medica. "It's
very important to me that an ad is designed as sophisticated as possible. As crucial as concepts and messages are, if the
design isn't there, and it doesn't showcase the product, the brilliance of the concept gets lost."
Grey Healthcare Group also received high accolades for its call-for-entries print ad, "Concept to Conception," which depicts
a drop of paint landing in a flask and forming a fetus. The image is moving and provocative, with little need for text.
"It's just a visual that tells a story very quickly and beautifully at the same time," says Tim Fening, vice president and
creative director of Bridge Worldwide. "You have to hook the audience into the promise that you do have content, it just might
not be on that ad. You can direct the viewer somewhere else, like a Web site, for that content."
The debate continues over whether pharma advertising should take a consumer approach to design. This year, the Rx Club Awards
entries included more ads with a touch of satire, including GSW Worldwide's gold-award-winning posters for its charitable
initiative called Grace. The posters spoofed popular ads from Apple, Marlboro, and Nike.
"In general, advertising for pharma is getting much more consumer-oriented, because people who work on it want to explore
beyond the usual cell or X-Ray ad," says Alex Fishgoyt, vice president and creative director at Harrison and Star.
Abelson-Taylor's gold-winning campaign for sleep aid Rozerem struck an emotional chord with judges. The ad depicts sleep-deprived
people longing for the strange dreams they used to have when they could sleep soundly. Both the consumer and physician ads
for the product come off as fun and enlightening.
"It's not about being serious or being funny," Devlin says. "It's about engaging the audience and not forgetting that you
need to capture their attention, whether they are a consumer or physician."
Direct mailers were physically bigger and more elaborate this year, as competing marketers vie for doctors' attention, says
Marjorie Vincent, creative director of Harrison and Star and a 2006 Rx Club Awards judge. She points to Wishbone's silver-award-winning
campaign for Wyeth's osteoarthritis drug Synvisc (Hylan), which shows a giant pop-up elephant stepping on a rubber ball, with
a caption: "When crushing knee pain strikes."