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Sweet success

Neil Lancaster from McCann Erickson, Manchester judges if this month's ads are sweet or sour


Here's a favourite ad of mine - and certainly not just because I'm in it!

Its disturbing genius comes from the fact that it brings about a union between condoms and, of all things, milk chocolate. This, surely, is the best way to bring about behavioural change. I'm not sure that some of the other work here leaves the right kind of taste in my mouth, but let's see... Predictably, I have a chocolate drop scoring system. All the work here is of a social marketing bent, but as Pharmaceutical Marketing readers propping bars up everywhere will tell you, it takes more than a few press ads to change the seemingly unchangeable.

Sida info service - Aids

Aids-AdMy partner, Dave Price, thought the offending article here was possibly a stubbed out cigarette. I was secretly happy for him. But as you and I know, dear reader, the image on this poster to target the male gay community is actually a horribly murderous "cock". I suspect this dismembered member's surreal, almost comedic aspect, has impact, but ultimately it doesn't tell anyone more than the obvious about this killer disease.

choco_drop1 choc drop


German Olympic sport federation - Obesity

Dave Price chipped in on this one, too. He reckons you don't necessarily get fat by not moving; especially if you aren't moving to the fridge, or to the local Dominos pizza takeaway, etc. The "Fat Dave" is a noble piece of Photoshop work, nonetheless. I've been thinking about not moving ever since I saw it. Better not give this boy too many choc drops though.


2 choc drops


Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation - Smoking cessation

ShotgunI thought I'd seen every permutation of the 'ciggie-turned-into-something-else' ad. Then we get two barrels from The Roy Castle Lung Foundation. Succinct, direct, literally habit-breaking.

choco_dropchoco_dropchoco_dropchoco_dropchoco_drop5 choc drops


Welsh Government - Healthy living

Those of a certain vintage will remember 'The Saint' stickman. Here he is again, but this time he's developed an orange tan and a Welsh accent. Worryingly, he's also carrying a bit of extra wood - which must be annoying because he's clearly eating the right things and keeping himself hydrated. Dave doesn't think he's really 'The Saint' though. He thinks he's a dingbat device thing come to life. He might be right.


No choc! It's bad for you

Think Campaign - Road safety

CopyCat-Seatbelt-posterMore unerring simplicity. Who said copy was dead? Or typographic skill? There has been an enormous amount of care put into this piece. Age shall not wither it either, as the stylisation is practically timeless.

5 choc drops


The Author
Neil Lancaster is creative director of McCann Erickson, Manchester
To comment on this article, email

Ad Lib is a creative critique of healthcare ads and does not take into account the marketing objectives behind the campaigns reviewed.

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3rd June 2009


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