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It’s how we do it, so it must be right – by Olly Caporn

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Take GM crops.

We all know they are bad for the future of the human race. The scary world of science is mutating our crops and causing us all to grow two heads and speak in squeaky voices.

Or something.

It’s what we call ‘received wisdom’.

Received wisdom can be a bit of a bugger though.

When something is decided by a group of people, the media or even the average advertising client and agency, it can be hard to change the way you do things subsequently.

We cling to our received wisdom like a granny on a zip-line.

Logos go bottom right. Doctors don’t like being told they’ve been doing it wrong by suggesting this drug is more right. You need a call to action. BOLD CAPS is the best way to hammer home your key points. Icons make your ad work harder. Don’t have anyone in the ad that isn’t the exact target patient. Always show the positive. Don’t anthropomorphize animals and never set anything in ten point for a diabetes patient. (Poor eyesight) and don’t have negative sounding words.

I could go on.

So what has this to do with GM crops?

Well it may surprise you to learn that an exhaustive study by a 20 strong committee of experts from the US National Academies of Science has scoured three decades worth of scientific papers and data for the evidence of GM crops being the closest thing to eating radioactive sewage on our health and it has proved to be……..almost non existent.

Indeed in some cases it has even improved the health of its customers. (Fewer insecticide poisonings through the use of insect resistant crops and the prevention of blindness through boosting vitamin A content in rice.)

What the fuck?

Obviously I am no GM crop expert, I only steal stuff from articles I read in The Times. (so send angry letters their way) and I am sure there are other concerns that could be raised. But the point is we do tend to, as an industry, approach our projects accepting a degree of that’s just the way it is.

Maybe we just need to all look closer at the many successful creative campaigns that keep things simple and rely on the concept to do the hard work.

Because it seems weirdly that for some Pharma brands you can break all the rules and the sky doesn’t cave in.

1: Always be positive.

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2. Always have the logo bottom right.

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3. Always have a big call out

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4. Don’t use humour

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5. Don’t have type that’s hard to read.

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  • julian_koenig

    The clients who insist on certain rules being followed to the letter are usually the same ones who say, “Why can’t you do work like that for us?” when they see examples like those above.