Ed Shankman, SVP, Creative Director, Cyan Health
It doesn’t matter what an advertisement says, if nobody bothers to read it. And it doesn’t make sense to try and differentiate a brand with an ad that look like everyone else’s. These principles seem basic enough. Yet the great majority of pharma ads continue to feature images of ordinary people looking happy and/or doing ordinary things. In most cases, these images could be swapped between one ad and another without changing the meaning or impression of either. Against this backdrop, I continue to advocate for the power of “iconic” creative solutions – metaphors and other artful devices that distill the essence of the message into a unique, surprising, and, therefore, attention-grabbing concept.
The element of surprise, Citracal
Skeletons are generally associated with the clinical or the macabre. A skeleton with attitude and style is both surprising (even stunning) and memorable (even haunting). The clever line, “Beauty is bone deep,” puts a meaningful twist on a familiar idiom (always a potent technique). When developing creative solutions, I often ask myself, “is this a concept that people might talk about around the water cooler?” In this case, the answer is, “yes!”
The Magic of Juxtaposition, Ann Geddes
The real-life, photographic image of a baby nestled into a drawn hand is fascinating, as optical illusions so often are. The context of the hand also instantly delivers the core message: this baby is much too small. (It must be nice to have Davinci and Geddes on the same creative team!)
An Artful Solution, Adeno Plus
This image is at once troubling and beautiful. Troubling as the suggestion of infection spreading from a very human, soulful, and vulnerable eye. Beautiful in terms of concept, aesthetics, and execution. Envisioning the fusion of three very different elements – medical illustration, abstract art, and a realistic eyeball — was ambitious. Making it work was an achievement.
The Irresistible Power of Mystery, Lilly
Who is she? Why is she hiding? And what is the time connection? The black and white motif – and old world craftsmanship – hint at days gone by. But why? The headline only raises more questions, deepening the mystery.
Shock Value, TheRealCost.gov
Shock Value TheRealCost.gov I often (gently) remind those evaluating creative work that whether or not they “like” a concept misses the point. No one would “like” this concept. No one would embroider it on a throw pillow or place it in a frame on the bureau. But here’s another thing no one would do – pass the page without pausing for a moment to understand.
The Allure of Incongruity, Rubraca
Sure, a man grimacing and holding his back suggests the idea of back pain. And, yes, a smiling person suggests relief from whatever ailment. But advertisers and creative teams seeking to stop a reader, to shake a perception, or to haunt the mind long after the ad has been put away, will have to do more.