And then there were four. While the “real” March Madness NCAA basketball tournament features a fierce foursome that few expected, DTC #FierceMadness now has its own motley crew of blood cell fish, girl power, IBD superheroes and HIV wisdom after 855 of you cast your ballots.
In the cardiovascular division, actor Morgan Freeman’s "Stand Up to Cancer" campaign finally went down to Boehringer Ingelheim’s image-driven "Red Fish" work for Pradaxa. Voters still showed support for Freeman and his storied voice, but in the end, the simple fish-as-blood-cells prevailed by a score of 200-166.
Echoing several others, one commenter said, “Love Jen and Morgan but picking a celeb is the obvious route. I have more respect for the campaigns that used fresh and innovative thinking to convey their messages.”
The only other celebrity spokesperson who had still been in the game, actress Jennifer Aniston from Shire’s dry eye awareness campaign, also bit dust, succumbing to the bold images and sage advice from Janssen’s HIV drug campaign for Prezcobix in a 309-220 route. Not everyone loved Aniston as a spokesperson—one commenter was still upset that she had beaten the Excedrin Migraine Simulator in the previous round—but even more voters praised the Prezcobix work. “Love it!” and “Janssen ties it to the patient! Go Janssen,” noted two different commenters.
In the Takeda vs. Takeda matchup in the autoimmune division, the Japanese drugmaker's original Superhero comic books handily beat its Entyvio branded work featuring bathroom door images, with the votes tallying 332-154. One voter commented, “The co-founder of Deadpool wrote this comic book. Now that's pretty awesome,” while another complained that pitting a print ad against a video ad wasn’t fair (although the Entyvio campaign did include print work as well.)
Finally, in corporate/disease awareness, Allergan’s "Actually She Can" female empowerment campaign outlasted Pfizer’s "Before it Became a Medicine" in one of this round's closer contests at 221-189. But in the end, strong women were no match for engaged scientists. One voter said, “It's always inspiring to hear stories from strong women who have been inspired by women (her mother in this case)," adding, "this was a compelling story and beautifully shot.” Another noted, “Very effective way to capitalize on in-culture social movement.”
Now, as the semifinals take us into interdivision play, the matchups will no longer feature the same subject matter or even media formats. Vote for most effective, best visual, or just the brand you work on—it’s the Final Four, and anything can happen! Ballots for selecting the final two campaigns are now open through Sunday at midnight ET, and we'll announce the finalists Monday.
Ad: Pradaxa “Red Fish”
Company: Boehringer Ingelheim
Boehringer Ingelheim’s swimming red fish, as representative of red blood cells, illustrated how those cells move and sometimes clot when traveling between the heart and brain.
Ad: “Actually She Can” female health awareness
Girl power stars in Allergan’s unbranded multimedia campaign (sub. req.) with purple-haired spokes-character Violet, hashtags and emojis, all in support of women sharing information about healthcare, including contraceptive options.
Ad: “Superhero Comic Books” for IBD disease awareness
Partnering with Marvel comics, Takeda created a new superhero and cast of characters to fight the good fight against inflammatory bowel disease in both digital and custom-published comic books.
Ad: Prezcobix “Wisdom”
Company: Johnson & Johnson Janssen
Janssen took real patients' words of wisdom and empowerment and, with the help of artist Sean Williams, transformed those words into stylized purple images of people.