Illustrating, But Not For Public Viewing

I was working for phar­ma­ceu­tical adver­tising agen­cies, and in those years, very little reached the public. Most of the promo­tional work and exhibits for trade shows were addressed only to the medical commu­nity. The goal was to intro­duce the merits of a product by personal inter­views with doctors and their medical teams. The Product Repre­sen­ta­tive made the contacts directly with the doctors. Our agency’s promo­tional team provided all of the details of the product for the doctor to know — so he/she could suggest the product, and person­ally inform a patient of its use.

This was before the phar­ma­ceu­tical compa­nies began selling directly to the public through print and live action ads in the media. The public has become aware of various phar­ma­ceu­tical prod­ucts shown in printed ads or presented in a few minutes in TV spots. Some viewers then feel, that they know what they need. With the cost of public adver­tising in every type of media, the price of the prod­ucts climbed. In some other advanced coun­tries — if a medica­tion needs a physician’s written prescrip­tion — then adver­tising that product is not allowed.
Looking back, there seemed to be a lot of time and money spent to aid the product rep for each meeting, but compared to the medical industry today these campaigns were small and simple.
So here are some campaigns from those early days when the doctor was the phar­ma­ceu­tical company’s main customer.

Working for the agency’s clients, several prod­ucts were created: folders, medical journal ads, promo­tional presen­ta­tions and campaign concepts. Each needed the image of a doctor, a white doctor. To simplify, a doctor was a man and a nurse was a woman. Only a group of medical workers or group of patients could show a mixture of genders, races and ages.

Presen­ta­tions to doctors, medical teams and clinics — were made with slide shows. They were timed to the script on an audio­cas­sette. (Video presen­ta­tions did not exist, yet.) A large amount of slides were needed. Here is the collec­tion (from March of 1977) of 72 slides that took 75 hours for me to accom­plish. The camera-ready art was needed for the launch of Syntex’s Brevicon birth control pill.

Also I show just some of the 40 slides for CIBA (early 1990s) — with the doctor in his white coat. This series (and the following two) were accom­plished with a fine point felt pen and various brands of markers. This left me with no possi­bility to correct any error or bad color choice. If I made a mistake, the frame would have to be drawn and colored again. This was a bit stressful but I found the method a quick way to produce the art for slides that were to be seen very quickly.

This next slide presen­ta­tion was an addi­tion to a campaign theme, “FOOD FOR THOUGHT”. The folders of printed product infor­ma­tion (that I show below) intro­duced the slide presen­ta­tion. A b/w story­board planned the images with the script.

The presen­ta­tion was directed to the medical specialist, the derma­tol­o­gist. He would have known the differ­ences in the two skin medica­tions: Syntex’s LIDEX and Syntex’s SYNEMOL.

The art for these 71 slides took me 82 hours to render. The two doctors, older white men, were created to suggest that they had equal stature of their estab­lished prac­tices to make their compar­ison look balanced — yet each physi­cian GP or Derm (general prac­ti­tioner or derma­tol­o­gist) were explained to be very different.
My draw­ings show that the Derm doctor owns an expen­sive car and also he is a member of a men’s club— suggesting his finan­cial success is more than the GP’s. If I would have been told to show the Derm as a female, some other hint of wealth would have been more diffi­cult to visu­ally suggest.
For this next presen­ta­tion for Cutter Labs, we show trees and bees. Other slides with more written messages brought the total number of slides needed, to 20. The year was 1977. Today, even the “anes­the­si­ol­o­gist bee” and the “purchasing agent bee” could’ve been a female.

Pfizer’s 1999 Super hero presen­ta­tion. Zithromax (Azithromycin) is an antibi­otic. It’s widely used to treat chest infec­tions such as pneu­monia, infec­tions of the nose and throat such as sinus infec­tion (sinusitis), skin infec­tions, Lyme disease, and some sexu­ally trans­mitted infections.

I presented the first char­ac­ters in rough sketch to the agency team. I suggested a female rep in addi­tion to Johnny Rep. The Doc is the “super hero.
The only times that there was need to show female doctor (or is she a tech­ni­cian or nurse prac­ti­tioner?) was when the medical subject, this time for public viewing, would be for a female issue.

The last example is a brochure (August 1976 Cutter Medical) that was not for the public — but for a personal, doctor-patient meeting. I could have shown a woman as the doctor but since there were more male doctors in the US, that deter­mined this choice.

The purpose of these quizzes below was for the product repre­sen­ta­tives to view a doctor’s surround­ings to know more about his or her inter­ests. With that, the product rep would be able to create a closer rela­tion­ship. The first card shows the male doctor. The second example — (finally!) a woman is shown as “The Doctor”! Then the third scene shows a lot of females (but in so called “women’s jobs”) and there, in the distance, is the doctor in his office. Today, we might see a man as the recep­tionist, or at a computer. The older woman seems correct, yet the doc could’ve been a woman and the patient, a man.

Lastly, I found this sample (below) of an assign­ment that I had at Vicom Asso­ciates. I couldn’t remember why I was asked to illus­trate a ‘Camp­bell Kid”! (Was it a boy or girl?) So I emailed the creative director from that time — (he now lives in NYC) — to get the answer.

Hi Les,
Now, I am sure that you are not trav­eling the world. So can I ask you (?) was this art for internal use or was it a job? It is on a top-folded card with no message inside.

His answer:

Hi Ann,
You’ve got quite an archive there! That illus­tra­tion was part of a pitch we did for Campbell’s Soup. That’s a Camp­bell Kid as an MD. We were talking to the company about commu­ni­cating with the health­care sector. It was a pitch in concert with FCB consumer. The busi­ness didn’t happen.
Best, Les

Playing “doctor” — BOY OR GIRL?
And so, regarding the issue about illus­trating a male or
female doctor?

Now, here is a solu­tion — like this Camp­bell Kid,
the gender is in question.

Ann Thompson