Something fishy



I’m a news junkie and a doctor wannabee, so between those two passions, I end up paying attention to a lot of pharma commercials targeted to, well, the older and less well among us. Usually I lose interest after the first few seconds because once the “creative” part of the messaging is done, there’s a dystopian list of contra-indications and side effects so scary it makes me want to swear off prescription meds for good.

“Ask my doctor”? I think not.

Pradaxa, an anti-coagulant, takes a different path. Yes, those disclaimers are still there, but they’re organically integrated into the visual storytelling. More importantly, as entrancing little red goldfish (blood cells) cavort through the arteries, the spot educates patients about their condition in a non-threatening way and shows how the drug works and why.

For their creativity and nuance, the drug company and its agency deserve our heartfelt gratitude.

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Oh, grow up!


There are commercials that pique your interest and others that just piss you off. To start off the new year in an appropriately picky frame of mind, here’s an example of each.

Schwab “Own your tomorrow.” On the theory that even high-net-worth individuals don’t know everything there is to know about making (and keeping) money, Charles Schwab presents its wealth management advisory services with subtle but telling family dynamics that would make Shakespeare proud. Each spot in the campaign is a jewel, well cast and beautifully produced with dialogue and subtext that make you wince (in a good way).

Speaking of cringe-worthy, Geico’s usually high-spirited creativity falls flat for me with this aw-w-w-w-w-k-ward class reunion scenario featuring Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and classmates who clearly haven’t aged well. I get the saving money part but there is something so grating about the performances, excellent though they are, that watch them, it’s not what I do.


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