Using Drugs to Live Life to the Fullest

Abbott Pharmaceutical is a 125 year old drug company that recently redesigned their corporate ad campaign and image. They have many different ads that all focus on the same idea; live life to the fullest. In addition, Abbott understands that everyone’s idea of taking advantage of life is different. With this in mind they created ads like the one pictured above, however they vary. Some feature a person doing a handstand underwater or parachuting friends.

I’m sure everyone has the various ads at the Chicago red line stop. This campaign has a great overall theme, however I am not sure it fits very well with their company. When I originally saw these ads I thought it was for a hotel or travel agency. I understand Abbott wants to change people’s perception of drug companies, but maybe they needed to start a little slower. These ads also only showcase their logo, but no where does it even mention the drug aspect of their company. I think this is just going to confuse people and regular commuters won’t even looks twice to try and figure out who Abbott is.

I think there is also a controversy because often drugs don’t help people live their lives better. In many cases sleep drugs that are supposed to help people end up causing addictions. In other cases, psychological drugs cause drowsiness and fogginess. It really depends on the person and the situation.

Do you think it’s fair for Abbott to use the idea of living a full life to market drugs that may be harmful or expensive? Was this the best idea they  could come up with? Would this campaign work better for a different company? If so, what’s a good example?

6 thoughts on “Using Drugs to Live Life to the Fullest

  1. I agree that drug companies need to be exceptionally careful with the direction they go with their advertisements. They are not marketing harmless products, and many drugs have the ability to be abused. For this reason, I think that drug companies need to differentiate their advertisements enough that they are easily identifiable and not confused for a fun, recreational product or service. After all, the last thing drug companies want to be associated with is recreation.


  2. The message that is being sent by the billboard is pretty ambiguous. Live life to the fullest how? Are they suggesting that one should take drugs to become a better DJ? I understand they want to portray their company in a more flattering light but this ad does not help at all. Looking at it i would have though it was an ad for a music production school.


  3. Although the new advertisements are cool looking and give the company a new edge, I do agree that the ads are misleading. I would never guess that Abbot was a drug company. If they are planning on rebranding or repositioning their company to the younger generation, it would be smart to first tell that generation what the company is or does. I think maybe the are trying to get across the message of the drug company is that whey a person uses their product they will be able to “life their life to the fullest” not by abusing drugs, but by using their products to help live a normal, healthy life.


  4. For Abbott, their advertisers have an especially difficult job. Yes, drugs (medications prescribed by doctors) can improve the quality of our lives. However, the topic of drugs isn’t black or white -moreso, it’s a spectrum. There are medications on one end, and addictive drugs on the other. Also since these advertisements are in a public spectrum, it is especially important for audiences to have an education on the topic. There is a capacity for audiences to misinterpret what Abbott is trying to communicate.


  5. Advertising pharmaceuticals is up and coming, but using the tagline “Live life to the fullest” may be a little too harsh. Granted it is important to change the way that America sees big pharma. We’ll see how it goes.


  6. Do people know Abbott split the company 2 years ago. The drug portion of the company went to AbbVie with the exception of some drugs sold overseas.
    In the US, Abbott makes nutrition products -Similac, Ensure, Glucerna–manufactures health diagnostic devices and other products that enhance your life. Research and you will see the message is not off base.


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