Ad Stars 2011 - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Ad Stars 2011


Pharmaceutical Executive


The Jumpstarter
Heartbeat Ideas

CLIENT: Auxilium Pharmaceuticals
BRAND: Auxilium's Low Testosterone Therapy
AGENCY:Heartbeat Ideas
CREATIVE TEAM: John Washburn, creative director; Wendy Hook, group account director; Lee Slovitt, vp, media director; James Talerico, executive creative director; Adrienne Imbriaco, video producer; Elizabeth Glaessner, senior designer; Mohammed Beshir, Flash designer
LEFT TO RIGHT: John Washburn, Wendy Hook, Lee Slovitt



Some men need a "pick-me-up" in the morning—a cup of coffee, an energy drink, a bowl of granola. Some men come into the office, stare at the mounds of paperwork on their desks, and just aren't able to muster up the strength to begin their work. It's not procrastination and it's not lack of ability—it's lacking the energy to get moving.



Some men need a pick-me-up at other times, too. And it's this idea that sparked Heartbeat Ideas's creative process while working on Auxilium's low testosterone therapy campaign. The therapy is a topical gel applied daily for those with low testosterone—a performance-boosting cup of coffee, if you will. "Our strategy was based on the insight that something like 90 percent of symptomatic men are undiagnosed," says John Washburn, creative director at Heartbeat Ideas. "The strategic position of the communication was to raise awareness of the condition in a way that would segue neatly into a brand message."

The creative team had a very close, collaborative relationship with the client, according to Washburn. "During the development, Heartbeat collaborated closely with the Auxilium brand team and we held multiple brainstorming sessions. Collectively we were able to leverage each other's skills and experience to achieve the campaign goals and deliver an outstanding campaign," says Eric Karas, senior product manager at Auxilium.

But broaching a sore subject with a sense of humor takes a certain tact. "We had to be very, very careful on how we approached humor in the topic," says Washburn. Yet emotional areas still needed to be explored in a way that educated the consumer while being sensitive to the issue at hand. "It's possible with low testosterone to have completely adequate sexual function but just no libido to deliver," he says. This is in stark contrast to erectile dysfunction, another sexual issue that males are well informed about—which had to be overcome.

So what makes the campaign so compelling? Says Washburn: "I think the work is, in large part, successful because we paid a lot of attention to casting. We hired really good actors, who could deliver nuanced performances with little to work on. Our main guy has basically no lines! He just kind of grunts. But he's able to bring a lot of humor to that. And the wife character? She's in the ad for literally a few seconds, but you can identify with them and see them as a couple very quickly. I am very proud of how we executed the ad in a way that felt respectful and sensitive to the subject yet managed to make it
feel believable." – JS


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