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Ad Lib blog

Creative critiques of pharma and healthcare ads and campaigns

Blowing their own trumpets

How three agencies have ‘blown their own trumpet’ – Andy Bell takes a look at what makes for a winning sales pitch!

While seeking inspiration for this month's Ad Lib, I took a look through the 2011 PM Society Awards online brochure (which you can find, incidentally, at Maybe, I thought, I can find something juicy to critique. But then it occurred to me that this would be an exercise in futility. Countless opinions, far more incisive and well-rounded than mine, had already been applied to each entry, sorting the wheat from the chaff. I needed something new to get my teeth into…

But then something struck me! Nestled neatly between each section was a prime example of stand-alone creative work – the ads for the category sponsors. A whole host of Ad-Lib-fodder, just sitting there minding its own business, begging to be judged!

As a relatively new company we know the importance of getting our name out there. Some do it with style and simplicity, others with humour and insight. But who makes the sweetest sound when blowing their own trumpet?

I've picked a random selection of three, but do have a look for yourself if you get a moment – as you'll see, there's a startling variety in there…





A great double bluff. At first sight it looks like the worst kind of cluttered communication, but then you’re suckered in and they’ve got their point across beautifully. As the headlines states, this is ‘The only time you’ll ever see charts and graphs in a Langland Ad’. You only have to glance at the segments of the first graph to know what’s going on. Simple and to the point with a touch of class.

A blast

The Drew Agency



The Drew Agency

Yep – that certainly looks like healthcare! But I’m not sure I’d put it in the category of ‘Creativity PLUS’… I’m sensing a heavy dose of irony here, but the visual onslaught has got me reaching for the headache pills. As parodies go, it’s bang on, but that could be its downfall. That said – maybe this is the bravest ad of the bunch! Or then again, maybe I’m just missing the point. It puts me in mind of a viral that deserves to be seen by anyone who ever asked for a logo to be bigger, or who thought it was a good idea to squeeze just one more message onto the page. You know who you are! Watch here and cringe…

A bum note

Dark Horse Agency



Dark Horse Agency

According to the headline, you don’t have to be big to make an impression. This may be so, but the ad leaves me confused – why the humongous footprint? As far as I can tell, you need size 22 feet and a pair of binoculars to make an impression. Sorry guys – I’m just being facetious – the stark simplicity certainly grabbed my attention, and the website is well worth a look…

Needs fine tuning

Article by
Andy Bell

creative partner at  OPEN Health

29th February 2012


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