Not only did Zoloft enter third-to-market after Prozac and Paxil, but the current creative in the marketplace was painting pictures of sad, weeping people that no one wanted to associate themselves with. Since Prozac was synonymous with depression at that point, it wasn’t an issue for them. But a late entry had to not just take business away from Prozac — it needed to get more people to be willing to seek treatment.


Once again, a new creative approach for the category helped a brand stand out immediately. Rather than show more weeping people and reinforcing the negative stigma of depression, the work featured “Dot” — a neutral, approachable character that could represent anyone with depression in a disarming, acceptable way. The campaign further alleviated the depression stigma with a simple but scientific demonstration that reinforced the fact that the condition wasn’t the patient’s fault but due to a clear, chemical imbalance.


Millions of patients asked their doctor about their condition and about treating it with Zoloft. Even more powerful than the numbers were the human stories. In one stirring example, a child recognized her mother’s symptoms after seeing the Dot commercial and got her mother to seek treatment.