Digger Doesn’t Tiptoe for Lamisil

NEW YORK Gremlins have a challenger for the cute-yet-evil creature crown, and his name is Digger the Dermatophyte.

A TV spot and two new print ads, which broke on April 12, introduced Digger as a means to convince consumers to contact their doctor about Novartis’ Lamisil, a prescription tablet that fights toe fungus.

“It’s a condition that a lot of people don’t realize is actually a live infection,” said Lisa Garrone, vp, group creative director and copywriter at Deutsch in New York. “We wanted to bring it to life, literally.”

The ad features Digger, who is yellow with pointy ears, a tail and brown spots, and his friends explaining the infection and then burrowing under an animated toenail before they are caught by a Lamisil tablet. The tagline is: “Get your nail infection where it grows.”

“He’s like the anti-spokescharacter,” Garrone said of Digger. “We want you to like him but we want you to want to get rid of him, too.”

After coming up with a two-dimensional drawing of the creature, Deutsch shopped it around to various animation companies and asked them to come up with an animated version.

Wild Brain in San Francisco came up with the eye-catching yet repellent creature the agency went with in the end.

“The company itself was really enthusiastic about doing it,” Garrone said, still seeming surprised by the enthusiasm. “You know, it’s a toe fungus.”

Previous ads for the brand, by Lowe in New York, featured testimonials.

Spending on this campaign was undisclosed. Novartis spent about $30 million in measured media advertising the Lamisil brand in 2002, according to CMR.