Walgreens’ Generic Ad

The remarkable thing about this ad for Walgreens is that it is so completely unremarkable. The upper two-thirds of the ad features a photo of a middle-aged woman smiling away from the camera. This doesn’t say much about anything.

Below, is the headline in a serif font over a kind of hospital blue background:

Take better care
of yourself: mind,
body and wallet.

So far, the headline and the photo have little to do with one another. Let’s take a look at the copy.

Blue copy on a blue background doesn’t yield the most readable text. Putting that aside, here are the first three sentences:

You want to live a heart healthy lifestyle. And we want to help. So all our Walgreens brand product, from vitamins to aspirin, work just like our name brands.

The first sentence talks about a heart-healthy lifestyle (notice the hyphen where it needs to be). Then they talk about the fact that their store brand products are as good as the name brand products. There’s no connection between these two concepts; one has nothing to do with the other. Imagine an ad for wheat-free pasta that said:

You’re allergic to wheat. So our pasta is delivered in eco-friendly trucks powered by natural gas.

Nothing in the copy relates to the photo.

The result is an ad that’s not visually compelling, delivers no real message, and isn’t all that easy to read.

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