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Ad Lib blog

Creative critiques of pharma and healthcare ads and campaigns

Focusing on film

Turn off your mobiles, while Rob Sampson and Andy James review three film clips. One of them gets “a standing ovation for this box office smash”

The British summer brings rain, hosepipe bans and disappointment at Wimbledon. But more interestingly it's the season of film premieres. Each year sees the usual selection of crowd-pleasers but also some exceptional pieces of work – The Artist, Submarine, Human Centipede II. But what's going on in our healthcare industry?

Every year, we seem to be making more films for our clients. From rep motivation videos to pre-launch teasers – use of moving image has spread far from the confines of the TV commercial. And this makes perfect sense.

With reps grabbing their iPads, and doctors tapping their Smartphones, the digital media revolution is in full spin. We all know that moving image has the potential to communicate more effectively (and certainly on a deeper emotional level) than print, so film should be high on any agency's agenda. It also means there's a lot of noise to cut through. But when done well you produce classics such as Pfizer's Get Real, Get a Prescription.

With this example in mind, let's get comfortable and take a look at some recent releases. Turn off your mobile phones, it's time for the main feature…

Valdoxan – Servier
'The Loner'





Agency: Big Pink

This film shows us what it's like to be depressed – sadness, avoiding the outside world, hopelessness. It then describes what it's like not to be depressed – enjoying laughter in fields and watching butterflies. Well thanks for the insight.

Yes it looks beautiful and is well shot with great production, yet we're left unfulfilled. We'd like to talk about the idea. But there isn't one. We'd like to discuss why doctors would be persuaded to prescribe Valdoxan. But we can't. This is like opening a bag of warm microwave popcorn and finding it half-full of kernels.

Otrivin – Novartis
'You Look Dumber When Your Mouth's Open'




Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Switzerland

Wow. What a weird feeling. Were we supposed to laugh? Cry? Wince? Nope, still confused. Okay, there's definitely an idea in there – call off the hounds – but it's executed badly. So badly it's making us angry. Taking the piss out of children just isn't funny. Kids this age don't care how they look and they shouldn't have to. But imagine for a second if they had used adults. Now imagine their line ‘you look dumber with your mouth open'. Maybe this could work, but for now this release is going to straight to DVD.

Hidrasec – Abbott
'The Inside Story'




Agency: Langland

Did we want to sit down and watch a diarrhoea MOA film? Not really. Will we watch this one again. Hell yes. Simple, beautifully made, emotional and refreshing. We love it. After one viewing you'll know how Hidrasec works. Even if you didn't want to. Here we have a lesson on behaviour changing creativity – it communicates mundane science in a way which is engaging and memorable for doctors, whilst also being easy for patients to understand too. Bravo! A standing ovation for this box office smash.


Article by
Rob Sampson (left) and Andy James

senior creative team at Ogilvy Healthworld Advertising London

16th August 2012


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