For Art’s Sake

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A creative review by the experts.

Each month, this department pays homage to memorable advertising and marketing campaigns. The highlighted executions have been identified by leading creative executives for their noteworthy use of copy, art, photography, whimsy, uniqueness, etc. — in combination or as single branding elements. Creating good healthcare advertising and marketing requires agencies to think out of the box and clients who dare to be different. PharmaVOICE is pleased to give these vanguards their due recognition. A little creative tension can go a long way to engage an audience quickly and more deeply than almost anything else. Unfortunately, all too often in the pharmaceutical advertising space, we see marketing efforts that appeal to a physician’s data-driven, MOA-centric world view — people rising up on mountain charts of efficacy data or visual metaphors for the way a drug works. Or we see ads that profess emotional engagement through the depiction of patients doing something joyful with their precious time, for example walking hand-in-hand along the beach or embracing a child in the backyard. Generally, neither of these options offers a hint of something more interesting to grab the audience. Don’t get me wrong; I value the importance of life’s touching moments just as much as the next person. But just because a physician points to a happy patient ad in research and says “that’s the one I’m comfortable with,” doesn’t necessarily mean the ad’s going to engage or influence him or her — especially if it looks like every other ad. Ultimately, the success of what we do is based, in large part, on whether the communication captures the audience and then leaves them liking the brand. In fact, the best executions are able to unsettle audience members just a little, if only to bring them around to a new, more involved appreciation of what the brand has to offer. Persuasive, brand-building advertising compels its audience to bond with the brand at a level that requires a personal commitment, no matter how small. But an advertiser probably can’t get a commitment from the audience unless the brand is ready to make one itself. That’s where a little creative tension comes in. It can serve as the most compelling ante for any brand — a stake on the table that challenges the audience to be “in” or not. This pipeline ad for Genta, which could easily have taken either of the traditional paths, does a great job of engaging the reader quickly — and likeably — with a scientific message that would probably be too large for the attention spans of most people flipping through a journal. The simple, ironic, and deadpan presentation of the man’s plea — his expression is priceless — creates an interesting mix of humor and sincerity — or is it a spoof — that serves as a compelling invitation. This ad has tension. The ad first hooks the reader at a visceral level and then releases the reader to go on and read the copy, which is a mouthful. Not to worry though; no matter how much the audience chooses to read, the high-level take away is that Genta is doing something different — just like its advertising — something that will, no doubt, be positive for humanity because Genta has a wonderfully rich sense of what it can mean to be human. Todd LaRoche, Senior VP, Managing Director of Creative, Palio Communications, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., says a little creative tension can be the most compelling ante for any brand. Doing something different with anticancer R&D, as well as advertising. Brand: Genta’s Anticancer Pipeline Company: Genta Debut: March 2006 Agency: Centron Art: Frederick Rescott, Frank Cusack Copy: Letty Albarran

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