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Ad Lib blog

Creative critiques of pharma and healthcare ads and campaigns

Hands up! It’s pharma advertising time

Ben Blackmore reckons a fresh approach is overdue…

Seriously, isn't it about time we moved away from trying to show patients enjoying a satisfactory 'quality of life' by thrusting their arms up into the air in enjoyment of life! 

Realistically, when was the last time you did this? Still thinking? Personally the last time I did this was watching England beat the All Blacks at Twickenham. With a row of Kiwis in front of me (and a few pints of the black stuff inside), I just could not contain myself!

However, the last time I was treated by a physician, I did not feel the need to run to a field or a beach and thrust my hands up into the air. Neither do probably 99.9 per cent of patients. 

Why not try a fully integrated, multichannel approach to a campaign to demonstrate customer engagement, emotional appeal and most importantly connection to your brand. Do we really still 'need' to show a patient type physically 'enjoying' life any more?

Hands up, you know who you are!

Clenil – Chiesi




Agency: Swordfish

Hands up factor = I surrender!

Guilty as charged your honour. We have what appears to be a family running away from the close up shots of the product, possibly to go and hide in the sea from the bad concept and poor execution? The ‘mum’ even looks like she is about to change her mind and head back to base camp – as it is too cold. And there he is, the young lad with his arms in the air and ready to ‘wave them like he just don’t care’. 

Come on, this ad campaign would only need a few small tweaks to the main imagery to work a lot harder.

Zineryt – Astellas



Agency: unconfirmed

Hands up factor = don’t do it, 'cos mum's going to kill me!

Overall, the campaign is really nice in terms of ‘how do you show red acne pictorially’ and associate the brand Zineryt with the solution? There are some really nice versions in this campaign series, however there she is bless her, Hände hoch! – what is she cheering for? The fact her little brother has fallen for her suggestion and is about to do himself a mischief? Or has this fallen foul to some group market research question: “Do the patients look like they are enjoying life?” I am not sure, but does the poor girl need to have her hands up?

How about just standing there, smiling, or just show the boy? (Good luck with that drop in too!)

Protopic – Astellas



Protopic – Astellas

Agency: LIME

Thumbs up factor – keep up the good work!

Thankfully there are some campaigns out there that get the thumbs up! 

Now this campaign works really well and gets the thumbs up from me. A lesson to some out there that it is possible to show a patient, enjoying themself and do it in a wonderfully bright and engaging way. The campaign has a really nice use of illustration combined with photography and a nice simple, clear message. I am engaged with the brand. I wonder what other channels are available to me for more information…?

And most importantly, it does not look like anyone needs to surrender!

Article by
Ben Blackmore

MD, bmore creative

28th February 2013


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