Bolder is Better - Pharmaceutical Executive


Bolder is Better

Pharmaceutical Executive

Just as familiar to ad readers is the ring-shaped life preserver used by Novartis to embody the concept of "complete response" in malignant melanoma or metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) for Proleukin (aldesleukin). Pharmion borrows from county fairgrounds and the he-man sledgehammer test to suggest the "power and performance" of Vidaza (azacitidine) in treament of myelodysplastic syndrome subtypes. And Lilly borrows interest from the famous dog sledding race, the Iditarod, for Gemzar (gemcitabine), suggesting ideas such as a changed landscape and a long haul.

Trend #4: Logos and icons as hero

Aiming to make their logos and icons stand apart, some marketers are using such branding as the centerpiece of their campaigns'. Millennium's Velcade (bortezomid) arrays combat-ready sci-fi soldiers in a distinctive V (for Velcade) formation, blasting a path through malignant cells. Similarly, a recent Rituxan (rituximab) campaign for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma turns a gigantic letter R on its side to form a bridge over a gaping crevasse; a hiker, presumably a patient, crosses the chasm. "Take the essential path toward improved survival" reads the headline, in case readers miss the visual's point.

This icon-centered approach helps ensure logo recognition through repetition. Presumably, such branding hallmarks are the result of a thoughtful development process aimed at delivering a memorable, meaningful set of images to potential users. However, some of these logo-driven campaigns seem a bit a force-fit to their task. Celgene's Revlimid (lenalidomide) campaign, for example, twists its unique yellow-and-teal symbol into various shapes—a butterfly, sails on a sailboat, the center of a globe—to keep the brand centered in readers' attentions. The transformations surprise the reader with their unexpectedness—but possibly at the cost of clarity and relevance.

Trend #5: Fewer scientific 'star wars'

One staple of oncology advertising campaigns has been the scientific graphic—a visual celebration of the product's mode of action, rendered in a vivid and imaginative way by illustrators inspired by Hollywood's finest special effects. We're seeing less of this type of ad than in past years, perhaps because the approach substitutes pizzazz and "wow" factor for emotional connection. Still, examples abound. For Genentech's Avastin (bevacizumab), angiogenesis inhibition is a key message, so a huge snarl of blood vessels dominates the pages of the campaign. For Vectibix (panitumumab), Amgen suspends a giant wire-frame illustration mirrored by a pair of hands, each forming the distinctive Y conventionally used to symbolize a monoclonal antibody. Temodar (temozolomide), indicated for the brain malignancy astrocytoma, depicts a network of lines and lights within the outline of a human form.


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