"When you don’t want a sore throat"

  • advertising
  • campaign
  • pharma
  • strategy
  • concept
  • ideation
  • creative direction
  • art direction
  • copywriting
  • storytelling
  • client contact


Tasked with distinguishing Zyx, a pharmaceutical sore throat lozenge, in a crowded market dominated by both pharmaceuticals and candy alternatives, our goal was to emphasize Zyx’s effectiveness compared to non-medical lozenges and push the creative boundaries within stringent advertising regulation restrictions.

Zyx, a part of MEDA, faced the twin challenges of standing out in a highly regulated environment and shifting consumer perceptions away from ineffective candy-based solutions. The industry’s norm of generic, animated ads highlighted the need for a fresh, impactful approach.

Differentiating Zyx in a saturated market
Adhering to strict advertising guidelines
Innovating beyond conventional ad norms

Creative strategy

Expanding our competitive framework, we started off our venture with everyday candy lozenges as our antagonists in the narrative, advocating Zyx with the slogan, “When you don’t want a sore throat” – a not-so-subtle hint indirectly making fun of the candy-alternative Läkerol’s then-slogan “When you do want a sore throat”.

This did however not go through the legal team at MEDA – and we developed the less provocative, yet true and effective slogan “the pain reliever for your throat”.

The storytelling element of the subsequent TVC was a comedic ad featuring a young couple, humorously contrasting pharmaceutical benefits with breaking the fourth wall. A significant creative symbol, a red sticker representing sore throat pain, was introduced to visually anchor our message – in stark contrast to animated generic pharmaceutical communication.

Challenges and adaptations

Post-launch, a competitor to Zyx challenged the use of the red sticker – it was contested for potentially misrepresenting a pharmaceutical quality, which necessitated a swift, strategic response and led to digitally alter the commercial to remove the “sticker”.

This incident reinforced the necessity of adaptability and precise communication in pharmaceutical advertising as well as led to new restrictions going forward.

Outcome and personal reflection

Creative direction from start to finish
Managed client relations effectively
Gained deeper understanding for marketing regulations

As the lead creative, I spearheaded all facets of the campaign from concept to completion. This included art direction, copywriting, media strategy, and working closely with production companies and directors to bring our vision to life. 

My role extended beyond creation: I navigated client relations, ensuring confidence in our innovative yet unconventional humor.

This project meant a balancing act between creative ambition with regulatory compliance and client reassurance. I learned the importance of diplomacy in client interactions, especially when introducing novel concepts. 

The experience has been invaluable, enhancing my ability to guide clients through complex processes and reassure them of creative decisions.

The Zyx campaign not only met its objectives but also provided me with profound insights into the dynamics of pharmaceutical marketing and client management.

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Art director / senior advertising creative based in Stockholm. Available for work.