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Drug Company GSK Strives to Keep the Olympics Pure

GSK enlists TBWA London to create a campaign promoting the anti-doping lab it is running at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

All sorts of brands ranging from soft drink makers to apparel companies are proudly touting their affiliation with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, even pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which is promoting its role in keeping the competition clean as the Official Laboratory Service Provider. GSK will be running an anti-doping lab at the games, and every single medalist and at least 50 percent of the athletes in general will be tested for banned substances, making this summer’s crop of competitors the most tested ever.

A number of British Olympians and Paralympians agreed to appear in a U.K.-based advertising campaign for GSK’s efforts created by TBWA London.

Sprinter Marlon Devonish, who is competing in the Olympics at the grand old age of 36, is at the center of the campaign, starring in a television commercial directed by Outsider’s Scott Lyon that takes us inside the athlete’s body as he stands in a crowded stadium absorbing the roar of the crowd before competing in an event. The intense rush Devonish feels is depicted via images of neurons firing, pupils dilating and a pumping heart. “The crowd is my only drug,” is the spot’s tagline.


Other athletes, including Paralympic wheelchair racer David Weir and Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle, see their anti-doping stance highlighted via an outdoor billboard campaign made up of images of the athletes in the heat of competition accompanied by drug-free proclamations. While Weir declares “Making history is my only fix,” Tweddle’s says "Chasing gold is my only hit."

GSK also brought the campaign to its London headquarters, draping the building with an enormous wrap showcasing an image of a swimmer and the tagline, “Keeping the London 2012 games pure.”

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