MSCG's Mark Friedman on Ads with Animals

What is it about the animal kingdom that makes it such a compelling place for creative thinkers to turn to often for inspiration? For starters, animals are an easy way to bring a brand's character or benefits to life. They represent everything from power and speed to wisdom and memory, to danger and instinct, and so much more.

While I didn't have the space to share work that features snakes, fish, spiders, rhinos, and birds of all varieties, we creative types will continue to go on inspirational safaris in search of that next big idea that has tremendous legs (or hooves). Somewhere out there, the next big animal idea is just waiting to be herd.

Mark Friedman is chief creative officer at Medical Specialists Communications Group, which includes Harrison and Star and Biolumina.

See also: Marvel creates superheroes suffering from bowel disease for Takeda campaign


Brand: Lotemax Gel
Company: Bausch & Lomb

Who knew that postoperative ocular pain and inflammation was a Revenant-sized problem? Nonetheless, this well-executed ad for Lotemax Gel powerfully dramatizes the plight of surgeons. Sadly, the brand promise isn't fully brought to bear.


Brand: Cosimprel
Company: Servier Laboratories

This ad doubles down on the beastly metaphors — literally. But who am I to argue? I myself have never been in a dark alley where cardiovascular hoodlums deface the walls so maybe you really do need both a lion and a tiger. Perhaps one day they'll create a triple therapy, and then you-know-who from the previous ad might join the party. Oh, my.


Brand: Oslif Breezhaler
Company: Pierre Fabre Laboratories

Nothing says “speed” and “endurance” like that rare beast, the Chamel. Straight from The Island of Dr. Moreau, this creature and the ad it graces are truly freaks of nature. The random old guy on the beach was inelegantly added to the layout for yet another layer of confusion. I do wonder how much Bordeaux was consumed in the making of this one.


Brand: Spiriva HandiHaler
Company: Boehringer Ingelheim

Here's an oldie but still a goodie. Unlike Oslif, Spiriva sells its attributes by demonstrating the feeling of breathlessness in an evocative and emotional way. Using the massiveness of an elephant to illustrate a symptom is truly effective — and clearly based on a meaningful patient insight. This idea was successfully pulled through on television and in HCP materials proving that COPD is no walk in the zoo.


Campaign: Gout
Company: AstraZeneca
Agency: AgencyRX

No animal suggests a threat from below better than a shark. It's the iceberg of animal metaphors and this ad, for the underappreciated dangers of gout, is a great catch. Fantastic computer-generated imagery brings the danger lurking beneath the surface to life in a very visceral way. We don't even need to see the actual animal itself to know the story; work this stunning may drive the need for a bigger boat to carry all the awards.


Brand: Alca Luftal Antacid
Company: Bristol-Myers Squibb
Agency: Lew'Lara\TBWA, Brazil

This ad takes one of the oldest tropes in the book (literally) and turns it into a fresh and delicious piece of creative. Demonstrating a 3 a.m. reminder of the pork-fest one may have consumed the night before, this idea is ingenious in its simplicity: a potent metaphor that needs no copy to tell its story. No doubt that — come awards season — this Trojan Piggie will go to market.