Avoiding the Elephant
CLIENT: CRF Health
CREATIVE TEAM: Kate Spencer, global business director; Shaheed Peera, art director;
LEFT TO RIGHT: Karen Phillips, copywriter; Kate Spencer; Shaheed Peera
What do a middle-aged hairy man in furry animal slippers sitting on a toilet, an awkward geek in the middle of a love-fest
with a pretty girl, and a restlessly sleeping barefoot guy all have in common? They all think they're alone in the privacy
of their own homes, but all show up in ad agency Langland's CRF Health print and video ads with a physician in the room with
them, diligently collecting vital patient data.
Langland's "No One Gets You Closer" campaign for client CRF Health—provider of electronic patient recorded outcomes—boldly
captures the intimate moments that many competitors might shy away from in ad campaigns, publicly recognizing that those private
moments are precisely the ones that data collection must pay the most attention to. Addressing the awkward elephant in the
room humorously and brazenly in these campaigns has brought a great deal of attention to Langland, and to the client—CRF—which,
of course, is the ultimate goal of advertising.
Kate Spencer, global business director of Langland, says that such bold ad campaigns help CRF stand out in an otherwise bland
environment, and allow the personality of the client to shine through. "Competition is fierce, and the pharma industry a fairly
conservative environment," she says. "Everyone is focusing on the products and the functional aspects, which doesn't really
give any idea of who the company is, what the company is like, and what sort of personality they have. And to understand a
bit about the company's personality really is just as important to our customers as the products they provide."
Spencer admits that there "were some raised eyebrows, even at the line drawing stage," but says that Langland consciously
tested the idea out on an ethnically, culturally, and geographically diverse audience, to make sure they never crossed the
line from funny to offensive. "Clinical research is all about patients, and you have to be respectful of the patients that
are taking part in these trials. We didn't want to offend anyone by being perceived as disrespectful of the patient. We overcame
this by making all the characters really likable, larger than life," she explains.
Art director Shaheed Peera adds, "Competitors were all doing the same thing in the same way, and what was really missing was
a human side to technology and to the company, and I think that's something that we really wanted to get across—that there
was a big human angle." – JR