GSW's Erik Slangerup on Ads with Heart

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The heart is a tireless worker, beating day and night. When we're telling stories for healthcare brands, we should remember what it takes to infuse real feeling, to get people to care.

Funny how this little muscle gets all the credit for our feelings, isn't it? (Yeah, sorry, brain.) The heart plays more starring roles in music, film, art, and literature than any other organ. So what place does it have in advertising? And is it still relevant if we're talking about, say, the pituitary gland? I say yes. Because whatever the body part, when the subject of an ad is our health, shouldn't it make us feel something?

Erik Slangerup is a group creative director at GSW, an inVentiv Health company.


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Campaign: Hero Gene
Company: Be the Match
Agency: Area 23

Wait a minute, you mean Comic-Con nerds get to be heroes, too? In real life? And that it was inside us all along? Beautiful idea, nicely done. Where do I sign up?


Campaign: No Way to Hide
Brand: Heartgard Plus
Company: Sanofi
Agency: Ames Scullin O'Haire Advertising

Somewhere, in the halls of ad heaven, I bet this ad is making Howard Gossage smile. And it makes me smile, too, because it managed to become something more. Before I knew it, I wasn't reading an ad; I was playing hide-and-seek. It took me a minute to find all eleven hidden pooches, but I did. So even if the ad isn't perfect, I feel like it's a win.


Campaign: Elizabeth Williams
Company: Donate Life America
Agency: Leo Burnett

It's stark, it's simple, and it's type-driven. And still, it moved me. Four hearts.


Campaign: Heartbreaking
Company: Eli Lilly/Boehringer Ingelheim

I'm trying to imagine the backstory on this one: two big companies with big investments in an even bigger category. Given all that bigness, I'm most impressed with the amount of restraint in this ad. Its smallness is what makes it work. I'm betting there was a fight somewhere to cram about a hundred other things on this page. But someone cared enough to keep it about one thing, which it did pretty nicely. It might not be breakthrough, but it makes me feel pretty good about these two big players.


Campaign: Eyeball Slave
Brand: Xalatan
Company: Pfizer
Agency: McCann Health, Hong Kong

Somebody put their heart and soul into this series, or at least enough hours to come close. And it shows. Never before have I felt so much for eye drops. Craft equals love.


Campaign: Manboobs
Company: MACMA
Agency: David, Buenos Aires

It was hard to be in Cannes this past year and not talk about Manboobs, or hear about Manboobs, or see Manboobs. Almost a year later, what still makes me love this idea so much (besides, you know, the name) is that it overcame a very real barrier in the social media space — in this case, a censorship policy — and actually teased an idea out of it. It made me care, giggle, and even check for lumps. The pharma industry should take note.

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