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Creating a breakthrough pharma campaign in today's world of me-too (and me-three and -four) drugs-not to mention marketing mania-forces brand teams to think of new ways to capture consumer and physician attention. In the sleep and cholesterol categories, the competition is so fierce that agencies are using talking beavers and comparing food to family members to stamp brands on consumer brains.
CREATING A BREAKTHROUGH PHARMA CAMPAIGN in today's world of me-too (and me-three and -four) drugs—not to mention marketing mania—forces brand teams to think of new ways to capture consumer and physician attention. In the sleep and cholesterol categories, the competition is so fierce that agencies are using talking beavers and comparing food to family members to stamp brands on consumer brains. Ad agencies dug deep into their creative cache to deliver campaigns that are compelling, visually stimulating, even hilarious. This is also the first time that two animated healthcare ads have cracked our list of Ad Stars. Also, more high-quality health Web sites are being developed to provide patients with tons of data in easy-to-swallow capsules of video and audio streams. This year's Ad Stars prove that it takes more than footage of people frolicking merrily on the beach (as a list of side effects scroll across the screen) to get consumers to consider a drug or physicians to prescribe a brand. It takes innovation. Excitement. A great creative team. These are the Ad Stars of 2007.
BRAND Amevive CLIENT Astellas
LEFT TO RIGHT: Therese Amaginot, associate creative director, Angie Bauerle, senior art director, Rachel Lomasz, senior copywriter, Amanda Acevedo, senior art director
It's the ultimate challenge for ad execs: How do you tell the story of a drug's mechanism of action without drowning the ad in a swamp of data?
AbelsonTaylor solved the riddle with its creative for Astellas' psoriasis treatment Amevive (alefacept). Amevive works by blocking certain T cells and, in the process, the inflammation and other immune responses that fuel psoriasis flareups. But explaining this process in an ad without it becoming too wonky "is not an easy thing to do," says Therese Amaginot, associate creative director.
AbelsonTaylor used a three-page format, which provided the space for some dramatic action—and a touch of parody. To show that Amevive was literally a natural-born killer (of pathogenic immune cells), AbelsonTaylor hired actors to personify vikings and other assorted legendary slayers. The ad opened with a shot of dead T cells stabbed by swords, followed by a spread of the warriors, dressed in historical garb grabbed from movies like The Last Samurai.
The ad team says that amid all the sword-play, hitting the right tone was key. "We're just poking a little fun at ourselves," Amaginot says. "In this day and age, we didn't want it to be too violent, so we added a little personality to the ad—and it really struck a nice balance."
PROJECT Bruises CLIENT Roche
LEFT TO RIGHT: Robert Roth, account director, Joan Zulawski, senior vice president, group management director, Deborah Katz, product promotions manager, hepatology (Roche)
Powerful ads backed by bold media placement enabled the unbranded hepatitis C campaign developed by DraftFCB for Roche to reach a patient population often resistant to action.
"The challenge of this assignment was to speak to a group of people who knew they were infected with hepatitis C, but were choosing not to pursue treatment options," explains Rachel Birnbaum, copy writer for DraftFCB.
To drive home the danger of this slow-acting but potentially lethal infection, DraftFCB employed a graphic parallel so literally "in your face" that it was impossible to ignore: "The analogy was: Your liver is taking a beating from the virus, and you aren't doing anything about it," says Birnbaum. "What if your face was taking the same beating? Wouldn't you fight back?"
In 2006, DraftFCB unleashed the hep C spots in subways and bus shelters nationwide. But it was the copy that tempered the visuals—and empowered patients. "It was important for us to make sure we were motivating them to seek treatment—not just shutting them off," Birnbaum says.
PROJECT Crohnsandme.com CLIENT UCB Pharma
LEFT TO RIGHT: Todd Ryan, senior interactive designer, Janelle Starr, director, project management, Lee Slovitt, media supervisor
One of the main challenges Crohn's disease patients face is feeling alone—partly a result of the stigma around this intestinal disorder. That was the finding of interactive agency Heartbeat Digital, which was tapped by UCB Pharma to create an unbranded online resource. "In research, we learned that patients didn't know how to connect with each other," says Janelle Starr, project manager. "This site serves as the community they need." Crohnsandme.com posts video featuring Crohn's patients and physicians discussing how best to manage the disease.
BRAND Vytorin CLIENT Merck/Schering-Plough
LEFT TO RIGHT: Darren Miller, account director, Tamara Neufeld, management supervisor, Tom McDonnell, creative director, Janet Guillet, group creative director
Marketers have spent nearly 10 years and billions of dollars on cholesterol messaging. The result? Patients are by now callous to commercials, while the market remains vastly undertreated. So when it came time to develop a campaign for the fifth entrant into the cholesterol category, Vytorin (ezetimibe/simvastatin), DDB Worldwide knew it needed to go where no other brand has gone before.
"We learned that people aren't as receptive to the cholesterol story," says Tamara Neufeld, DDB management supervisor. "They don't feel sick, so they don't think they need something to feel better."
DDB answered patients' ho-hum with a series of catchy, candy-colored print spots featuring paired images of quirky characters and yummy food—bearing an uncanny resemblance. The message was clear: There are two sources of high cholesterol, food and family. This opened up the dialog on disease to patients who thought that they were controlling their cholesterol with diet. It also hinted at Vytorin as a two-in-one combo pill.
"We found that 'food and family' was a very easy catch phrase for people to remember," Neufeld says. "And when we looked at pictures, we started to see this great resemblance: 'Whoa. He kind of looks like a ham. And this person looks like an apple pie. It was fun. "
IMAGE AS ICON
Sudler & Hennessey
BRAND Vaprisol CLIENT Astellas
LEFT TO RIGHT: Tina Brancaccio, senior art director, Gary Kruk, VP, group account supervisor, Patrice Lee, VP, group copy supervisor SEATED: Joe Garamella, VP, group copy supervisor
In the crowded, fast-paced world of physicians, it is often the simplest image that cuts through the noise and clutter. Sudler & Hennessey proved this concept with their striking campaign idea for Astellas' Vaprisol (conivaptan). The ad depicted an old-fashioned salt shaker as a visual metaphor for Vaprisol. The message to docs about how the the drug worked was so pitch-perfect that it became more than just an ad concept—it became an icon for the brand.
Vaprisol is used for hyponatremia, an electrolyte disturbance that can lead to congestive heart failure, and works by restoring the equilibrium of the body's sodium and water. Enter one giant saltshaker—with one giant twist. "In this image, the salt is not pouring out—it's being retained—and the excess fluid is pouring out," explains Joe Garamella, vice president, group copy supervisor for Sudler & Hennessey.
The salt-shaker concept was developed by S&H for their initial pitch to Astellas. "It's rare when one of your pitch concepts ends up staying alive not only through the initial branding and positioning stage, but actually is the ad that becomes the drug's launch campaign," says Garamella.
BRAND Zyprexa CLIENT Lilly
LEFT TO RIGHT: Bruce Rooke, chief creative officer, Matt Mizer, vice president/account director
For its global ad campaign for schizophrenia drug Zyprexa (olanzapine), GSW Worldwide turned the tables on the before-and-after spots mental-health marketers traditionally rely on to dramatize patients' progress. Instead the ads for Zyprexa make their poignant point by juxtaposing a healthy patient paying a visit to their disturbing pretreatment life.
"We allowed the person to say, 'If you are healthy enough to move forward, then you are healthy enough to go back to where you used to be,'" says Bruce Rooke, chief creative officer for GSW.
For example, in one spot, a patient dressed nicely finds himself back in the alley where he used to live. Another print ad features a woman returning to her old living room, which is cluttered with televisions and other evidence of her manic buying binges.
The conventional wisdom is that global spots should play it safe with heavy branding and stick to featuring the drug's functional benefits. But GSW created a concept that worked around the world.
"We found that transcendent, human stories speak across borders," Rooke, says.
BRAND Rozerem CLIENT Takeda
LEFT TO RIGHT: Ken Erke, VP, group creative director, Noel Ritter, senior art director, Scott Hansen, VP, creative director (AT), Stephen Neale, VP, creative director (AT)
AbelsonTaylor's professional campaign for Rozerem (ramelteon) made major inroads in the sleep market in 2005. In 2006, AT teamed up with Cramer-Krasselt to go consumer—and a little crazy!—with a TV ad of a talking beaver and a past president. How did they come up with such creative creative? "People equate dreams with a good night's sleep," says Cramer-Krasselt's Ken Erke, VP, group creative director. "So we decided to flip that. If you're not sleeping, you're not dreaming, and thus your dreams miss you."
BRAND Lunesta CLIENT Sepracor
FROM TOP: Andrew Schirmer, EVP, managing director, Jennie Fields, SVP, group creative director, Paul Behnen, SVP, group creative director
McCann HumanCare had one goal in mind with Lunesta (eszopiclone)—to build a strong branding icon. Three years later, Lunesta is the most-recalled ad of the year, and its famous moth has become the gold-standard in pharma branding. "When you have patients asking to try 'the butterfly sleeping aid,' you know you have a brand property that is resonating," says Andrew Schirmer, EVP, managing director at McCann. The logo was first launched in April 2005, but has evolved its focus to include new messaging and creative. "But if you turn off the sound and watch 20 DTC ads, there is no question which one is the Lunesta ad," Schirmer says.
BRAND Live With It
LEFT TO RIGHT: Jeff Rohwer, senior interactive producer, Isaac Mudd, PWA, Fabio Gratton, co-founder, CIO, Lawrence Jackson, senior animator, Shane Brouse, senior project manager
Dark, edgy, uncontrollable—hardly the words any pharma marketer wants to hear from an ad team describing its latest creative for a promotional campaign. But the team at Ignite Health knew it needed this outside approach to reach folks newly diagnosed with HIV online. So it decided to finance its animation series "Live With It," which offers a volume of unflinchingly honest insight into doing just that, on its own dime.
Ignite opted for animation to stand out from all the other HIV information available on the Web. "We wanted the audience of 'Live With It' to pause and realize that they haven't seen anything like this before," says Fabio Gratton, co-founder and CIO.
The series, now on its third episode, follows different cartoon characters as they learn to cope with being diagnosed with HIV. "I was having sex without a condom," says Isaac Mudd, pictured second from left. "I thought I was bulletproof—when I think about it, I was just stupid."
Ignite has conceived a new model for healthcare promotion—one in which the ad agency maintains a firewall-protection over the content and drug companies sign on as supporters. Third-party outlets, from health portals, HIV Web sites, YouTube, and iTunes, have picked up the series and integrated it into their offerings.
Saatchi & Saatchi
BRAND Crestor CLIENT AstraZeneca
LEFT TO RIGHT: Kurt Lundberg , VP, account director , Sergio Flores, VP, associate creative director, Marcia Gold, SVP, group planning director
It takes a savvy marketer to define a disease on their own terms. But Saatchi & Saatchi did just that in its creative for AstraZeneca's cholesterol drug Crestor (rosuvastatin)—and with that masterstroke secured a strong positioning for the brand.
With "Is your cholesterol out of whack?" as a headline, the Crestor creativistas helped reset the parameters of the tired, old cholesterol discussion to include regulation of both "bad" LDL cholesterol and "good" HDL cholesterol levels—a key benefit of Crestor.
The Crestor team further underscored this message in its ads by depicting patients as a stack of misaligned pieces. "This campaign puts a visual to an asymptomatic condition," explains Kurt Lundberg, account director at Saatchi & Saatchi. "It helps paint a picture of cholesterol [levels] that aren't right—and out of whack."
VIDEO SAVED THE AD STAR
BRAND oralchemoadvisor.com CLIENT Roche
LEFT TO RIGHT: Ashish Verma, VP, creative director, Craig Douglass, senior VP, group creative director, Tom Wagner, VP, account group supervisor, Karen Rush, information architect
When it came to offering information online, Medical Broadcasting Company (MBC) knew that the last thing oncology patients wanted was more of the same. Instead they took a new-tech approach to creating Web resources for Roche's oncology portfolio: producing short videos of oncology healthcare professionals , which patients could absorb without feeling overwhelmed—or as if it was homework.
"The video information tends to resonate a lot more than the text," says Nancy Powell, Roche's interactive marketing manager, specialty-care oncology. "With the demographic skewed a little older, the viewer is accustomed to news on the the television, so it's easier for them to sit and listen, and people absorb more information from audio."
DO MORE WITH DOMORE
Harrison & Star
BRAND Humira CLIENT Abbott
LEFT TO RIGHT: Markus Vaga, associate creative director, art, Pam Alfino, product manager (Abbott), Marjorie Vincent, creative director, Alex Fishgoyt, creative director, art, Gregg Geider, director of client services
Paging Dr. Do More. In early 2005, Harrison & Star got the nod from Abbott to help relaunch its psoriatic arthritis drug, Humira (adalimumab). "Abbott felt that we needed to re-invigorate the brand and give it a new compelling image," says Marjorie Vincent, creative director at Harrison & Star.
The professional-ad two-fer gets up close and personal with the body parts most affected—upper arms, chest, and hands. A patient can identify with either the man clasping the necklace or the woman baring her arms: Look, Ma, no psoriasis!
Any Doc can vibe with the cute Do More character. "The common thread among our target audiences was they all want to do more for their patients," Vincent says.
PICTURE SAYS A THOUSAND WORDS
BRAND Spiriva CLIENT Pfizer
LEFT TO RIGHT: Peter Zamiska, EVP, chief creative officer, Linda Stryker, senior group art director, Andrea Bast, SVP, group account director, Bruce Wortring, senior group copy director
Communicate the world without saying a word. That was what the Cementworks did when it created the global ad campaign for Spiriva (tiotropium), Pfizer's COPD drug. The agency took a rad anti-text route by way of playful visuals and the absence of a verbal pitch to find a new type of ad that packed more punch.
"We were trying to execute the promise of the brand telegraphically," says Peter Zamiska, EVP and CCO. The campaign depicted quotation marks that frame scenarios of patients enjoying the enhanced lifestyle advantages from Spiriva. A picture tells a thousand words. But if those people had to be translated into words, what would they be? "A healthy, active lifestyle," Zamiska says.
BRAND Nasonex CLIENT Schering-Plough
LEFT TO RIGHT: Ed Maslow, senior creative director, Jennifer Bennethum, account supervisor, Sal DeStefano, creative supervisor/art director, Anna Fader, associate creative director/copywriter
The allergy market is so packed that patients have more than 100 over-the-counter and prescription products to choose from. As a result, driving consumer choice in this category is critical to a brand's strategy. The bar doesn't get set much higher for a creative ad team.
Enter the Nasonex Bee, a charming animated brand mascot with a suave celebrity accent and a penchant for allergy education and encouraging patients to refill their prescriptions. Whether he's trying to overcome his own inflammatory dilemma or spreading the word of Nasonex (mometasone) to other needy sufferers, Monsieur—or is it Senior?—Bumblebee buzzes with brand recall, enabling Nasonex to rise above the clutter.
Featuring voice acting by Latin heartthrob Antonio Banderas, the TV spot was created using CG animation, a more realistic high-end computer rendering similar to that employed by movies like Toy Story and The Incredibles .
"We are delighted with how well BBDO translated our strategy into award-winning advertising," said Herb Ehrenthal, Schering-Plough's group vice president, global advertising and marketing communications. "Nasonex has seen significant growth, and this campaign has helped contribute to our success."
And at the end of the day, that's nothing to sneeze at.
Torre Lazur McCann
BRAND Evoxac CLIENT Daiichi Sankyo
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Jennifer Wagner, account group supervisor, Mark Oppici, vice president group creative director, scientific communications, Marcia Goddard, senior vice president creative director, Jennifer Alampi, senior vice president creative director
Ads often appeal to emotions, but how many actually make physicians salivate? That was the response Torre Lazur McCann was aiming for in its targeted professional campaign for Daiichi Sankyo's Evoxac (cevimeline), a treatment for Sjögren's syndrome in which white blood cells attack the moisture-producing glands.
"The whole idea behind the campaign was bringing patient comfort to the surface—figuratively and literally," says Mark Oppici, VP, group creative director .
The creative team placed what must be the world's lip-smackingest watermelon under the banner "Mouthwatering Relief," and then balanced that visceral visual with the clinical data that juices rheumatologists.
"The product itself makes your mouth water," Oppici says. "It was a great marriage of a telegraphic and a linguistic message."