Denis O’Keefe, SVP, executive creative director, Merge
Over the last 25 years, pharmaceutical advertising — and branding for that matter — has been dominated by an iconic, heavy visual manipulation style of creative. While absolutely an effective way to build a healthcare brand, it’s not the only approach available to us. This month, we’ll take a trip through time evaluating brands both new and old to explore some less common, but no less effective, ways of building meaningful healthcare brands.
Rocephin, Roche + Sudler and Hennessey
I remember the Rocephin apple from all the way back when I was a little kid flipping through my dad’s JAMA journals. But what stands out most today is how the apple always evolves to tell fresh stories while reinforcing the once-a-day differentiator at its core. As the brand that started it all, it’s an icon of pharmaceutical branding.
Aranesp, Amgen + Abelson Taylor
Red blood cells. Line art. Yellow sweep. With 3 simple brand elements, Aranesp created a platform with limitless storytelling potential. Yet year after year, no matter what story they told, it always reinforced Aranesp’s ownership of the category it created. It’s a great example of how strong brand identity and design can create a more flexible, enduring brand.
Xiidra, Shire (Now Takeda) + Digitas Health
In the dry eye category, Xiidra is another great example of how brand identity can carry the day. Only this time the “double i’s” branding uses a typographic solution that helps the brand’s friendly, approachable voice take center stage. By leaning into strong branding elements and a distinct voice, Xiidra communications create a relatable brand experience across channels and audiences while delivering variety in execution that keeps the brand fresh.
Mount Sinai, Mount Sinai + DeVito/Verdi
Ever since I first saw Mount Sinai’s work in awards annuals, I’ve developed a love for the New York brand despite being a Chicagoan who’s never once stepped foot in a Sinai hospital. The thing I love most is their copy-driven approach. It’s all about having an authentic voice that expresses the brand’s values. With customers who puts their lives in your hands, it’s powerfully effective creative strategy for building trust.
Rinvoq, AbbVie + Razorfish Health
Here’s a more recent example from the RA drug Rinvoq. And a great example of how tone can take the lead. The bold headline, fresh illustrative style, and handwritten typography all work together perfectly to create a singularly defiant tone that’s impossible to ignore. For a challenger brand taking on some well-entrenched juggernauts, the creative solution is spot on.
Alzheimer’s Research Initiative, Alzheimer’s Research Initiative + BBDO Group Germany
My boss once returned from the Cannes festival and declared the adlob dead. A month later we were back concepting adlobs. Why? Because nothing beats a well-crafted print ad for showcasing a big idea. Like this exceptional Alzheimer’s awareness ad from BBDO Germany. By reimagining the tired puzzle metaphor with this stunning execution, it tells an emotional story in a heady way that’s incredibly relevant to the category.