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.
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.
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.
Playing “doctor” — BOY OR GIRL?
And so, regarding the issue about illustrating a male or
Now, here is a solution — like this Campbell Kid,
the gender is in question.