Pharmatainment

In last week’s campaign magazine there was spread devoted to the future of TV advertising. Possibly the most successful and certainly the most talented British commercials director of our era, one Daniel Kleinman, asserted that the main object of advertising was to ‘entertain’.

Well, he is a director.

It struck me how much my opinion on that had changed since hopping over to Pharmaland.

Where does entertainment fit in to the scope of work you plan for your clients?

Like most creatives in consumer I believed that our job was selling through entertainment, where possible. Not entertainment for its own sake, but as an uninvited guest in consumer’s homes we owed them some level of reward for watching and to keep them amused or emotionally engaged. You buy off people who make you laugh, you give to people who make you feel sorry for them.

But is it so different in Pharmaland?

You may think HCPs don’t have the time to be entertained, as such.

They want information.

But we know that giving information alone isn’t enough, if it were we would be out of a job.

So how do you pharmatain customers?

Of course first you have to understand the meaning of entertainment. It doesn’t just have to mean amusing it can mean thought provoking or even scary. When people are entertained they are captured, you have them in the moment and they are yours.

Charlie Chaplin defined the anatomy of a joke thus: A man walks down the street and narrowly avoids a banana skin on the pavement, stopping to congratulate himself, before falling down through a manhole two steps on.

That’s why clowns are rarely funny. They’re all banana skin, no manhole.

That’s why crazy visuals aren’t enough on their own, no matter how eye-catching. That’s why people on beaches aren’t emotionally engaging, that’s why jingles aren’t enough. That’s why pretty people aren’t enough. Why headlines without a thought are just words. That’s why information isn’t enough.

A stone is just a stone, and a fish is just a fish, but a stone-fish is an idea.

It’s why strategy is so important before you sit down to get creative, you need to figure out what angle is going to ‘pharmatain’.

If you haven’t got a smart strategy all you’ll be doing is laying out banana skins on pavements.

With a great strategy all you need to do is come up with a manhole.