Insights in health & wellness branding


Healthcare Ads Aren’t Just Walks on the Beach

11 June 2019   |   Amy Blevins

We’ve all been there. You’re meeting new people over drinks and the first question you’re asked is, “so what do you do?” I respond, “I work in Pharmaceutical Advertising.” And wait.

After Saturday Night Live started doing parodies of pharmaceutical ads back in the early 2000s, I’d invariably hear a snicker response. As more pharmaceutical ads have permeated television, the internet, and social media over the years, the snickers have turned to groans with a sympathetic, “REALLY?”

That’s when I order another beer and explain that I feel like some of the best ads out there are in the healthcare space.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of bad healthcare ads out there. Don’t ask me why walking on the beach has been deemed the best representation of improved health. Thankfully, AT avoids the common pharmaceutical clichés.

All I can say is capturing how different conditions can change patients’ lives and sharing how healthcare professionals can help them are topics that are compelling in ways no beer ad can be—Clydesdales or not.

Here are two of my favorite campaigns—not my own—to illustrate this point.

“My Epilepsy Hero” shows the emotional connections that can be made via healthcare advertising.

“In A Word” reminds us all about the human factor that is behind all pharmaceutical advancements—basically, the reason why people choose to work in healthcare in the first place.

At the end of the day, having a chance to work on projects that could improve people’s lives or connect in a meaningful way is marketing and advertising turned up a notch—or 10—in my book. And, ads that make me feel something will always have an advantage over mainstream consumer advertising—sorry to the Clydesdales. Nothing personal.

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About the Author

Amy is a copy supervisor who has been working in pharmaceutical advertising and healthcare for 20 years. If not writing, you can most likely find her in one of her other happy places—on the lakeside pedestrian path or at one of the local music or theatre venues.