Roche Helveticum forte

Those who are familiar with drugs from Roche are probably aware how the drug boxes look like. Roche has a specific design for drug boxes with lots of white space, two proprietary fonts and two hexagons in one of the corners: one being filled with colour, typically blue and the other bearing the Roche logo. In essence, almost all of their drugs are packages in the same looking white drug boxes; the only difference is the name of the drug.

However, if you happen to visit the Roche central offices in Basel, you will encounter yet another Roche “medicine” called Helveticum forte. This one is also packed in they typical Roche white drug box, but the content is far from being an active drug. Instead, you can open the Helveticum forte box to find 36 playing cards and a small booklet that explains how to play a card game. This is because Helveticum forte is not a real drug that Roche decided to give for free to all their visitors, but a card game containing all sorts of different trivia for Roche.

In fact, the instructions of the small booklet tell you of a game that has two phases. In the first phase, two or more players are dealt with some cards with the aim to complete quartets (books of cards of the same rank). They do this by asking their fellow players if they have the cards the need to make the quarter and by losing their turn if they do not manage to find a card. When a quarter has been made, this needs to be laid down. After all the quartets have been laid down, the second phase of the game begins, in which the person who has completed a quartet asks the person on their left one of the questions contained in the quartets. For each correct answer, the respondent is being rewarded with a card and at the end, the person with most cards wins the game.

Helveticum forte is obviously a fun and creative way for Roche to pass on corporate information to a visitor. But what is more interesting is Roche’s willingness to package this board game in a “bogus” drug box, similar to the design of their real drug boxes. It can create a lasting impression.


[all images © copyright LambdaPhage]


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