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On the bright side

Zuleika Burnett, creative director at Medibrand, decides which ads should bask in the sunshine and which shouldn't see the light of day

Zuleika Burnett from Medibrand While I pack my bags ready for my family summer holiday next week, I thought I'd see which ads are sun kissed and which shy away from the light.

I believe the summer period is an opportunity to do something very different with advertising for the brands that are heavily marketed during these months –  it's a short-lived opportunity for many brands, at a time when doctors, nurses and pharmacists are bombarded with requests to deal with common symptoms.

Every year we see the seasonal offerings. Some should be burnt, while others bring a warm glow. Accordingly, I've rated them with a three-position sunflower. Hot stuff, half-baked or gone to seed.

Ready 2 Go - Travel vaccines

Ready 2 go - Travel vaccines

Ready 2 go - Travel vaccines

I've always liked a bright and lively illustrative approach. Here we see traveller information, brilliantly executed as waiting room posters. They are both witty and fun but, at the same time, don't stereotype people – a problem that is unavoidable with photography. The headlines are a highly relevant way to carry the messages, reminding people that they might not be as well prepared as they thought they were. It's no wonder this was an award winner.

Ready 2 go - Travel vaccines

Sunflower Hot stuff


Nasacort - hayfever

I was struck by this at first, simply because I wondered what was going on exactly. The picture doesn't seem to relate to the headline at all. Although the body copy does reveal a product differentiator: it sticks up your nose (not the whole thing, presumably, at least not permanently, one hopes). As for the triffid, I can understand it being naturally yellow perhaps, but isn't it a shame when we see product colours forced into visuals (flower and T-shirt in this case) when they do little or nothing for the communication? Flashes always cheapen the look of an ad too.

Nasacort - hayfever

Gone to seed

Dead sunflower

Fexofenadine Hydrochloride - hayfever

Fexofenadine Hydrochloride - hayfever Shame there's no real reason to buy up front. Visually, it could be an ad for any hayfever product. The company strapline would have made a better headline. Talking of the company, why are there two Winthrop logos showing? Cute illustration though, so perhaps it will be well recognised by pharmacists regardless.

Sunflower dying Half baked


Relestat - seasonal allergic conjunctivitis

Here's a real eye opener. What a cool pair of lashes. They remind me of a mixture of the Sex Pistols and Leigh Bowery. Visually this ad is very impactful (if a little crude) especially if it was used as a full page or a spread. It has what I call "entertainment value", but it's a shame the words don't marry the visual very well. We've also seen the old imprisoned/freed thing too many times in pharmaceutical ads. And do we really need those dots to tell us something else is coming? They're about as useful as exclamation marks. Nonetheless, for the unique visual impact alone, I'm giving it my highest rating.

Relestat - seasonal allergic conjunctivitis

Hot stuff


Stérimar - hayfever

Stérimar - hayfever Qu'est-ce que c'est? Les nez d'été? With une grande promise, too. Although this product is sans drugs or preservatives, the ad makes a big claim. No wonder so many people swim the channel – perhaps they're all allergy sufferers and just like sniffing salt water. This ad feels like it could have started as a great idea (certainly a good opportunity), but ended up floundering. It's also a little gloomy for something as innocent as a nasal spray, so it's half-baked I'm afraid.

Sunflower dying Half baked

The Author
Zuleika Burnett is creative director at Medibrand
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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4th August 2009


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