Tuesday Tonic: Life is fragile

Having just finished writing an article on vaccination and comparing it to wearing a seatbelt, this Nissan Vases campaign really resonated with me.

I normally wouldn’t give car adverts a second glance, but it’s funny how good creative can make you sit up and take notice and make the brand seem relevant to you.

Seatbelts, airbags, vaccinations: all pretty good ideas that can save lives.

News, Opinion

Tuesday Tonic: Dog days

Chocolate eggs were found in abundance at Highland Tonic Towers this weekend, I hope everyone had a lovely extended weekend?

On Friday, we’re moving to our new HQ, leaving London town behind and relocating north of the border. Highland Tonic HQ will finally be in the Highlands of Scotland but normal service will resume by Monday 8th April.

Meanwhile, I wanted to share this with you. I’m loving this print campaign by MINI to celebrate being the car behind the highly successful SPCA Driving Dogs campaign in New Zealand. Clean, simple and makes the viewer work for the pay-off. Love it.

Dogs Choose Mini.

For the rest of the campaign by Draftfcb Auckland go to: http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/2013/dogs-choose-mini/#.UVnxvVtoQXV

Any favourites you would like to share? Come on now, don’t be shy!


Tuesday Tonic: Playing with diseases

{Tonic: (noun) something with an invigorating effect}

Just a quick visually inspiring post today as I'm up to my eyes in writing a proper opinion piece for a proper publication (Me? Opinionated? I know - you're shocked, right? More on that in due course), writing scripts for videos, creating concepts for campaigns and email alerts for an NHS database.
The 8 most frequent diseases of the past 91 days


The visualization shows the disease alerts of the last 91 days. Click through to the original in Visually and you can select the name of a disease on the left then see reports by continent. Have a play with it and enjoy.

See you all on the other side of the Easter Bunny!


Tuesday Tonic: Bashing Big Pharma

{Tonic: (noun) something with an invigorating effect}

Unless you’ve been living in seclusion in a cave somewhere in the Himalayas for the past few months, it would be pretty difficult to miss all the Big Pharma Bashing that’s been going on in the media recently.

From Ben Goldacre to the BMJ, it seems like everyone has jumped on the Big Pharma bashing bandwagon.

Yes, there is a need for transparency. Yes, there is a need for honesty around trial data. I don’t think anyone can deny that.

But what about all the good stuff? Big Pharma today isn’t just about the drugs anymore. It’s not enough. New Clinical Commissioning Groups want more than just a drug. They want value for money and assurances that the drug they’re being ask to include on their formularies does more than simply alleviate symptoms. So in response, there’s funding for nurses, educational materials, CPD programmes, apps to help patients track their symptoms, websites and online resources for patients and carers….the list goes on.

Ah, but all these extra resources are part of the problem I hear you cry. How can doctors make honest prescribing decisions when they’re influenced by all the extra razzamatazz?

Let me ask you this: Do we hold the intelligence of doctors in such low regard that we think they’ll overlook hard clinical facts? Do we think they are really so easily swayed by some pretty pictures in a glossy brochure?

Never, in 12 years, have I ever worked on a project that stretched, bended or distorted the ABPI Code of Conduct. Projects are always scrutinised, from every angle, to ensure they provide a balanced view and do not bring the industry into disrepute. Every word is carefully chosen and if it can’t be substantiated by trial data, it’s removed. Data on file is swiftly becoming a thing of the past and robust, double-blind clinical trials are the norm (as it should be of course).

Sure, I’ve sat in meetings where there’s been very little, if no talk of patients. Plenty of talk about market expansion and widening the pool of customers, changing prescribing behaviours and finding new ways to convince doctors that this drug is the dogs wotsits. But there are pharma companies out there that try to put patients at the heart of their business. That strive to improve the lives of the patients their drugs are designed for.

And really, if Big Pharma doesn’t fund the education programmes, the conferences, the extra nurses, the patient support materials, the adherence programmes, who will?

The NHS can’t afford to, that’s for sure.

What say you: Are you on the Big Pharma Bashing bandwagon? Or do you believe that without Big Pharma the NHS will fail to thrive? Can Big Pharma invigorate the NHS?