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The Ultimate Sacrifice

Isn't this time of the year great? Lighter nights, less SAD, the optimism of Spring... and loads of bank holidays!

Isn't this time of the year great? Lighter nights, less SAD, the optimism of Spring... and loads of bank holidays!  It's always a bit daunting writing this column. Who are we upsetting? Are there any potential clients we may be annoying? And so on...

However, we really do need to be true to ourselves and offer our frank opinions of the work that's out there. After all, isn't ad lib all about being off-the-cuff, unplanned and blatantly honest?  Anyway, because we've got three ads each to review, we'll keep this preamble to a minimum.

Ads should be like a good Easter egg - not a Curate's egg! Attractive. Tasty. Well packaged, with something more inside.

Well there's our scoring system sorted.

Happy Easter!

Oh, we would like to point out that the following are only our opinions of course, so please do not be offended.  If you are a potential client, we are truly very, very sorry!

Lee Williams and Malcolm Badger are creative directors at Norris Lincoln Adcom

Click on images for larger view

Muse - for erectile dysfunction
In the original version of this ad (many years ago) wasn't the flower being held by Pierrot, the clown? Now the flower is being held by the other person ED affects, albeit through the glass. Safe sex no doubt.

ED is no joking matter of course. However, that flask is huge! Isn't it? Seriously though, I wonder whether this ad has been pruned considerably since its first inception. The headline doesn't work with the visual, the bulleted 'body copy' could be straight from the back cover of the detail aid and, perhaps worst of all, there's no endline!

I assume the 'actual size' does refer to the product's size - not its benefits!

Despite the laudable use of a consistent brand icon, I find this execution as interesting as one of the many TV repeats that will no doubt turn us all off over Easter!

Anyway, what do I know about ED! Malcolm - it's over to you...

Levitra - for erectile dysfunction
Is this the same woman they launched with? Where's the 3D erection gone? What happened to the match (I quite liked that)? I think you see my point!

Visually, I think this is close to the Viagra campaign: depicting the couple in an intimate situation. Perhaps with very little to differentiate molecularly between Viagra and Levitra, this is understandable. But is it acceptable, particularly since Levitra is trying to convey a spontaneity - rather than experience - benefit?

This doesn't really work for me. Okay, the copy does clearly convey the benefits of the brand but combined with the visual, it's just not happening.

Sorry, it's the first time this has happened. Never had a problem before etc...

Oh well, let's see what's on the end of Lee's rod...

Prexige - anti-inflammatory
I know this is silly, but every time I think of Prexige I think `oil disaster'. Well, there are plenty of slippery specimens in this ad! And that Eros-looking thing really is a fish out of water.

What? Why? How?

This ad just poses so many other questions, including why (again) does the copy have nothing to do with the visual? Is an interesting and relevant headline really too much to ask for?

At least there's an endline this time, but it repeats the targeting theme awkwardly and, in my opinion, is a little wide of the mark.

For me, this ad is far from the catch of the day and that's such a shame for the launch of a new product.

Anyway, Malcolm, haven't you got two other fish to fry...

Migard - for migraine
I do get migraines and yes they are a bit of a devil. But I don't get the 'Carry On' cartoon approach. To me, this is the kind of thing that would go into testing as a rough guide and then get used because someone happened to like the illustration.

The endline is simple and clearly depicts the product's benefits in a fairly crowded market. However, surely this could have been conveyed in a far more differentiating and interesting manner?

For me, there are too many other ads with illustrations running at the moment, and this doesn't offer me anything they don't.

Sorry, I have to show it the door!

Kentera - genito-urinary
It never rains, but it pours - at least thanks to Kentera, these two won't be getting wet! Overactive bladder can be a difficult area for GPs, not one where treatment can easily lead to a discernible improvement in patients' QoL and, therefore, a condition that can be viewed with reluctance. I can understand, therefore, the pressure to use safe and 'appealing' creative.

This is the kind of imagery that no doubt tested well and ticked all the boxes: our couple are protected from the wet (efficacy), they're covered (patch), they're out and about (QoL), and there's an example of both genders. In fact, when the chips are down you can count on Kentera.

Yet, I think that we've ended up with something that lacks impact, depth and a strong idea. I wonder if the agency's more adventurous creative proposals are hidden in the shopping trolley?

This is one for a rainy day.

So, Lee, have you got a happy ending?

DesmoMelt - genito-urinary
I'm not sure if it is because I'm trying to be positive now, or because the others were so mediocre, but this ad is a lot more like... an ad! The copy and visual do work together and there is an idea here - one that depicts the target patient and benefits in a more interesting manner.

However, I just feel it could all work a bit harder. I quite like the use of the product's feature in the headline, but I do find it a little obvious and quite possibly one of the first things you'd write down; unlike DesmoMelt, I'm not sure that it would withstand the overnight test. I do, however, like the fact that this ad has some proper bodycopy, and I also like the way it has been placed in an obvious, yet simple, and interesting manner. Again, like the headline though, it doesn't make me wish I'd written it.

I guess that just about qualifies as a happy ending.

The other "c" word
You don't have to be an agency creative for long to realise that certain briefs are going to be right b******s to work on
I don't remember that
Each of us is exposed to an average of 3,500 advertising messages everyday; 99 per cent have no impact whatsoever
The Sea of Love
It seems like just yesterday when Roundhouse was the new fish in the pond. Three sprats splashing out into a sea of mediocrity and flotsam
A True work of art
Heading towards the PM Society Awards, what better time of year than this to review the latest crop of pharma ads?

2nd September 2008


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