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Smart Thinking blog

Insights and expert advice on the key issues facing today’s pharma marketer

Chips can be good for your health

No-holds barred – and that’s exactly WHY these awards are getting healthcare creatives thinking…

Could the brief you hand over to your agency be stifling their work? Earlier this month the winners of this year's The Chip Shop Awards were announced. And amidst the off-the-wall creative ideas, brands such as Sensodyne, Imodium and Asilone were given a whole new interpretation.

Feed Me for Save the Children by RPMThe Chip Shop Awards is in its 10th Anniversary year and was established to foster creativity without the restrictions that other awards schemes have or interfering clients or agency bosses. The emphasis is on ideas and entries don't even have to have been broadcast, printed or mailed out.  

To make things even more interesting, and at times shocking, innovative categories are also used, eg, best use of bad taste, and best use of shop-window postcard space. It's one of the most entertaining juries I have sat on.

This year's Big Chip winner was 'Feed Me' for Save the Children by RPM (see picture right). The Chairman's Award, chosen by Mark Denton, went to Dafty for Sensodyne's 'Sensitive Tooth Man' film (see video below). Many other familiar brands, such as Imodium, received recognition for no-holds barred creative makeovers.

Watch Sensodyne : Sensitive Tooth Man on Vimeo

You may now ask what this has to do with producing an interactive e-detail for the latest haemophilia treatment? The truth is that art directors and writers (and all digital interactive variants of) feel stifled by the briefs that regularly land on their desks. It's not that they're ungrateful or that the challenges of the health sector are not satisfying. It's just that many briefs don't push them to the edge of genius. So part of their brain lies dormant, wondering if it will ever be used to its full potential. 

Rob Sampson, deputy CD at Ogilvy Healthworld, won a Chip in 2012 for a provocative piece of work and believes it gives creatives an opportunity to show what they can really do.

“The fact that anything goes allows writers and art directors to produce work they wouldn't normally be able to. Work can be funny, challenging or thought provoking; what it isn't is restrained. In an industry as restrictive and often risk-averse as ours, it's of huge importance that our creatives get as much freedom as we can give them.” 

Another advocate of these awards is Andy James, group head at Frontera. “The Chip Shop Awards help inspire us when only 20-page detail aids fill the creative schedule. We treat the awards as part of training, keeping our thinking fresh and relevant. They're particularly useful when the detail aid is replaced by a new pitch brief.” 

One great aspect of the Chip Shop Awards is that there are no excuses for not doing great work. Hiding behind the ABPI or PAGB code does not apply. It's clearly quite a frightening prospect, or I'm sure more health advertising people would be willing to risk their creative reputations. 

Rob Sampson added: “It's your idea in its purest form, you have complete control. There's no complaining about the brief or that account handling didn't sell it properly or that the client didn't get it.”  

When you look at some of the entries on, it's easy to think of it as an outlet for crazy irrelevant stuff. But that misses the point. Creatives need to prove to themselves and their peers that they can produce great work, especially when clients don't demand it every day. Entering or browsing the winners' work, it's one way to make sure creatives are at the top of their game when the real opportunity knocks.

Article by
Russell Speed

creative director at Kane&Finkel. He can be contacted at

25th June 2013

From: Marketing



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