The Spot: I Want a New Drug

Help Remedies is a different type of pharma company: one that promises you less, in strange and compelling advertising

GENESIS: Richard Fine and Nathan Frank felt that pharmaceutical products and their marketing were needlessly complex, wasteful and confusing. They wanted to make simpler drugs, give them simpler names, put them in more inviting packaging, and sell them with more interesting ads. In 2008, they launched their own drug company, calling it Help Remedies—"instead of Sominominex or something," says Fine, the CEO. They developed over-the-counter drugs, each with a single active ingredient, and named them after the symptoms they treat: Help I can't sleep, Help I have a headache, etc. Then they began advertising them in ways that defy the category's conservative norms. First, they did some dark, hallucinatory spots for Help I can't sleep that recommended bizarre dream narratives for people with psychologically induced insomnias. Now, they're launching "Take less," a manifesto campaign that opens with a trippy 60-second stop-motion spot attacking Big Pharma for its excesses—medical, cosmetic and linguistic.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.