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Adlib: A modern measure

Looking at the Ad Lib list of recently reviewed ads, it seems to me that primary care has been over subscribed, so I have decided to focus on secondary care.

Looking at the Ad Lib list of recently reviewed ads, it seems to me that primary care has been over subscribed, so I have decided to focus on secondary care.

The first thing I noticed about hospital ads was that they seemed to be trying to convey more information than their GP counterparts. Many GP ads these days seem to be more like posters, concentrating on one message, whereas some hospital ads take the kitchen sink approach. Do hospital doctors spend more time reading ads than GPs? They certainly seem to grant longer interviews to reps than GPs, depending on the individual talent and knowledge of the rep and the doctorís level of interest in the product.

Which of the following ads do I think will most influence their target audience? To answer this, I need a scoring system which is contrived and credible. It obviously has to measure creativity with a big C. The best definition of creativity, which dates back to the ë70s, is the ërelevant unexpectedí. For an ad to be good, it must be relevant and unexpected; surprising and not predictable.

Another big C these days is compliance. If your ad does not comply with the ABPI code, your competitor can get your ad and any other offending promotional materials pulled. So we have to comply as well as create. In short, my modern measure for advertising effectiveness is the CC scale, going from 1cc to 10cc.

As I still work in a creative department, I shall be allocating up to 8cc for creative and up to 2cc for compliance, but this might all change when the compliance police take over.

Uftoral ñ Oral 5-FU therapy

The picture of a hand holding a tablet is very relevant since the big advantage of this product is not that it is another 5-FU option, but that it is an oral option of this widely used chemotherapy. The idea is a bit obvious and doesnít score highly on the unexpected scale. The hand is somewhat cluttered by a lot of messages, some of which are not necessarily relevant. Comparing Uftoral with bolus 5-FU may not necessarily resonate with UK customers who are routinely using 5-FU by infusion.

Do you have to imprint on the little finger that itís a convenient oral therapy when you are showing a tablet in the hand?

It seems more attention was paid to the prescribing information, which with lavish line spacing, unnecessarily long referencing and acres of white space around it, has condensed the idea into half rather than two thirds of the ad.

Equasym ñ designed to make the most of the school day

In my search through the hospital journals, I found this ad to be one of the most noticeable. I like its economy and simplicity. So little said but the image and words combine to tell you who Equasym is for and builds in a strong product promise.

The headline: Mark Keenan ñ aspiring maths teacher, sitting under the picture of the calm and thoughtful-looking boy, promises you that by treating ADHD you can make some parentsí wishes come true.

Often less is so much more.

Orencia ñ see whatís possible

The headline of Orencia, The Next Generation Biologic implies cutting-edge science: the latest breakthrough, but does the image live up to this?

A bunch of lamps with traditional bulbs and the new Orencia lamp with a low energy bulb doesnít do it for me. I would have preferred to see some attempt at visualising what a selective T-cell co-stimulator modulator is and what it does to the inflammatory process, and perhaps a little story about how it differs from anti-TNF agents, because Iím still in the dark. But at least we were spared from pictures of happy models on their bicycles.

The ads for Uftoral and Savene have sign-off lines that tell you something about the product. Orencia: See whatís possible, tells you nothing. In terms of creativity, I find the Orencia ad very predictable, but when it comes to compliance, the prescribing information overleaf has the largest font size of any ad Iíve ever seen.

Zyprexa ñ helping move lives forward

Case histories are a popular route in schizophrenia because they are so compelling, and products like Risperdal have used them to mesmeric effect over the years. This ad for Zyprexa is visually attractive and you are drawn into the pre-Raphaelite world of Alex who, at one time, lived on the street. But when it looks like the bohemian quarters of a Tuscan village you might say thatís not such a bad place to spend the night. Also, I see from the body copy that this case study is referenced. Itís data on file and it relates to a 12-month study in SOHO, yet Alexís particular story is based on a fictional character.

Iím confused, but the fictional Alex we see from the support pictures has turned a corner, got a job cleaning windows, met up with his dad again, and got a place to live. If only everything in the ërealí world of schizophrenia was so simple and straightforward as Zyprexa.

The moral of this tale is that you can invent a pretty mundane story, give it to a gifted art director and you can have a great looking ad.

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

Savene ñ the antidote to anthracycline extravasation

This is more like it. A poisonous-looking snake spiralling down an anthracycline infusion line. This image makes you sit up and take notice. The picture of a threat always seems to grab you more than a happy smiling patient. This ad scores high in terms of relevant and unexpected. The double headlines do a good job as does the sign-off line: The antidote to anthracycline extravasation.

Now to nit-pick, the first two paragraphs of the body copy are a bit unnecessary considering you are talking to a medical oncologist. Buried eight lines down is the claim that Savene has shown a clinical success rate of >98 per cent in biopsy-proven anthracycline extravasation and the next sentence about avoiding the need for surgery and allowing chemotherapy to continue are highly relevant.

The body copy would have had more presence had it been restricted to these two key lines. Also hyphenating words like extravasation and anthracycline was clumsy and unnecessary. The ad has some compliance questions since it omits any statement about adverse event reporting.

23rd August 2007


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