What do you think of when you hear the word “pharmacy”? A large chain store? An independent mom and pop? A mass merchandiser? From the era of the soda fountain to the age of online medical services, pharmacy as a healthcare institution just keeps evolving. Is it having an identity crisis, or is it the ultimate chameleon?

As pharmacy continues its perpetual reinvention, let’s look at who different pharmacies are, or maybe who they want us to think they are, today.


Agency: DeVito/Verdi

One look at this poster and you’re probably jonesing for a tissue, hand sanitizer or anitibiotics. Whatever you decide you need in this claustrophobic moment on the NYC subway, DUANEreade has it—and that’s what they’re betting you’ll remember. Characterizing themselves as a “drugstore” takes their persona beyond the pharmacy counter. And the dark-ish humor stands out in the sea of  lifestyle-shot pharmacy ads.


Rexall PharmaPlus
Agency: Padulo Integrated

Though this ad could benefit from a more telegraphic layout, Rexall communicates the importance of getting back to pharmacy basics in an unexpected way. It hits you squarely in your self-esteem, while reminding you that some issues are best resolved with the assistance of a medical professional and prescription medication.


Good Neighbor Pharmacy
Agency: Hanlon Creative and CGI Advertising

The name of this network of independent pharmacies says it all, so kudos for capitalizing on it. While not groundbreaking, this ad gets its message across—you deserve a familiar health care institution that cultivates relationships and trust.


Lloyds Pharmacy
Agency: TDA

Sex sells, baby. Lloyds is a full service pharmacy/drugstore that launched an online physician service (for certain conditions only). Though the ad itself feels anything but discreet, and anything but digital, its cheeky humor may get men laughing at themselves just long enough to seek treatment. Anonymously.


Agency: Wieden & Kennedy

Who doesn’t want to target new moms?! This ad mainlines the loss of self-consciousness often seen in women following the miracle of childbirth. No topic is too personal. Though I wish the products in the ad stood in for words in the headline, it effectively says that the new mom will find everything she needs, including sympathy and understanding, at Target. Or is it Target Pharmacy? Sometimes the lines blur…


Agency: GSD&M

Some pharmacies reach beyond consumers. In this physician ad, Walgreens offers a specialty service while displaying a nuanced understanding of what it means to physicians to put patient needs first. Sure, the execution feels like typical pharma, but isn’t that in service of the goal—stand out from the competition but blend in with accepted norms?

Debra Strober is SVP, Asso­ciate Creative Director, JUICE Pharma Worldwide