Ad Stars 2011 - Pharmaceutical Executive


Ad Stars 2011

Pharmaceutical Executive

Arresting Tremors

CLIENT: Questcor Pharmaceuticals
BRAND: Acthar
AGENCY: AbelsonTaylor
CREATIVE TEAM: Joe Pajkos, senior art director; Stephen Neale, senior vice president and executive creative director; Jonathan Davila, senior copywriter; Rob Kienlie, vice president and creative director
LEFT TO RIGHT: Mark Sircar, associate creative director–copy; Janet Kleve, creative director; Nick Rambke, account supervisor; Jonathan Davila; Joe Pajkos; Yuliya Chepurnaya, senior art director; Rob Kienle

Infantile spasms is a serious, frightening disease, made even more disturbing by the fact that those who suffer from it are usually between four and eight months of age, and that parents can often only watch helplessly as their children suffer. Potential long-term effects of infantile spasms can be as serious and frightening as the condition itself, including cognitive impairment, neurological complications such as epilepsy and autism, and motor development concerns.

In an area where fear is already so prevalent, AbelsonTaylor made a conscious effort with its sales literature concerning Acthar—aimed at child neurologists—to convey empowerment, hope, happiness, and good health, implying that Acthar can be the very opposite of everything infantile spasms means to the physicians and parents who face it.

Child neurologists easily recognize the EEG brainwaves on the left of the image as characteristic of infantile spasms. And the happy, healthy baby sitting up next to the brainwaves is more than just cute. "By the baby sitting up, we're actually suggesting that with Acthar, the baby can reach normal developmental milestones, because in some infants who have this condition, sometimes these developmental stages are inhibited," explains Joe Pajkos, senior art director.

In addition, the hand raised in the stop position and the police officer outfit symbolize power that is in direct juxtaposition to the often helpless feeling associated with the condition. "It's not going to be uncommon for child neurologists to see images of babies looking happy and healthy," says Stephen Neale, senior vice president and executive creative director. "But we've gone an extra step symbolically, to put the baby in a cop's outfit, to say that once the baby is given this product, it now has the power to stop this disease."

"The way that doctors described this ad, they thought it conveyed strength, hope, happiness. It was easy for them to understand," adds Jonathan Davila, senior copywriter.

What makes this ad stand out is that rather than focusing on the disease, or even really on the product itself, it focuses on the patient—in this case, the infant—and the patient's ability to overcome the condition. "Dressed as a cop, the baby is able to have power over his own destiny," says Rob Kienlie, vice president and creative director. "He is able to overcome this condition that exists within him. And that's really what conveyed the sense of hope and optimism for the future that resonated so well with doctors and made the ad come to life." – JR


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