Private View: Tales from the Dark Side

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Although we've done much to conquer disease that comes from external sources, some of our most intractable illnesses come from within. What are cancers and auto­immune ­disorders but our bodies turned against us in monstrous revolt?

So here's a series of pharmaceutical ads that offer up these corporeal derangements in some truly unforgettable ways.  You don't have to be a fan of David Cronenberg's films to find them compelling, but it surely helps.  For while they all offer the comfort of a ­therapeutic resolution, the only cure for these nightmare images may be waking up.


Saatchi & Saatchi, Cape Town

The combination of black humor and a bad pun either mitigate the equine Alien imagery here or make it even more disturbing.  Either way, this piece from Saatchi & ­Saatchi Cape Town takes a weirdly wonderful approach to promoting a sore throat medication.  The campaign also features images of a man with a frog in his throat, which I'll happily leave to your imagination.



We've all seen cardiac risk ­portrayed by hearts with lit fuses or bound with sticks of dynamite, but there's something that's particularly unnerving about this execution. The outline of the grenade tight against the sternum provides a visceral punch that goes well beyond those other metaphors.  Also makes you wonder just who'd be pulling that pin.


Point Blank, India

So which of Dante's circles of Hell holds the sufferers of gout? In any case, the writhing horde clutching their ears makes me reach for mine in sympathy.  The starkness of the image is striking and it is only relieved by two small, hardly reassuring logos that are slipped into the corners of the ad.


Ministry of Health, Brazil
Agência Matriz, Brazil

Those lower incisors lack bite, and we've all seen similar hand art, but I love the goofy charm of this public service campaign that comes from Brazil's Ministry of Health.  Thanks to efforts like this, washing hands in public has evidently increased. Now raise yours if you'll be participating in National Hand-Washing Awareness Week this December.


CDM New York

The graphic and headline of this ad boldly evoke Munch's The Scream. Here CDM's award-winning work is arguably even more disquieting, given that its gaping maw now resides on a patient's  abscessed ankle.


Giovanni + Draftfcb, Brazil

Yes, a stomach that's tied up in knots is a cliché (there are over 6 million hits on Google, if you must know). But that doesn't stop me from staring.  The model's bare straight arms offset the folds in the fabric, making the image even more unsettling.

Steve Witt is SVP, Creative Director, at Flashpoint Medica
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