Name of Product: Hytrin
Name of Company: Abbott Laboratories
Agency which created Ad: AbelsonTaylor
Agency submitting: AbelsonTaylor
Creative/Account Team: Account: Dale Taylor/Jay Carter; Art Director: Stephen Neale; Copywriter: Jeff Chouinard
Creative Rationale: In 1993, when Abbott Pharmaceutical Products Division (now Abbvie) was preparing to launch an antihypertensive alpha blocker for a new indication for benign prostatic hyperplasia, they had a formidable competitor in Merck’s Proscar. Nonetheless, Hytrin had advantages of its own. Unlike Proscar, Hytrin worked rapidly to reduce the symptoms of BPH, as it had a different mechanism of action. Further, Proscar was just beginning to open up the marketplace for the disease. Physicians tended to delay treating the symptoms of BPH until there was substantial discomfort.
To address this, Abelson Taylor created the “Red Balloon” campaign, which simultaneously focused upon the symptom (personified by an overfilled water balloon) and the symptom relief (the hand, Hytrin, relieves the pressure of the prostate, the clothespin, on the bladder.) This ad was special… special enough that Hall of Famer Harry Sweeney wrote an article for Medical Marketing & Media’s “Ads I Wish I’d Done” feature to commemorate the campaign. Special enough that Med Ad News created an “ad of the year” award for it.
Something little noted but of great importance was the early use of brand vocabulary in the campaign. Merck called BPH “benign prostatic hypertrophy,” because its mechanism of action was to shrink an enlarged gland. Abbott chose “benign prostatic hyperplasia” because the brand reduced the muscle tension of the prostate…for more rapid relief.
Awards and Honors Received: Med Ad News Ad of the Year; In-Awe Gold.