Pharma and healthcare marketers from around the world will descend on the South of France this weekend for the third annual Cannes Lions Health creative awards and confab. And this year, pharma marketers will have more opportunities to win a prize.
New this year is the splitting of Pharma Lions into three categories: black box, branded communications and unbranded communications. There are also additional categories in both the Pharma and Health & Wellness Lions including digital craft and branded content. The two-day health event prefaces the larger 6-day global advertising creative colloquium that draws more than 11,000 marketing industry players every year with speakers ranging from actors Mindy Kaling, Gwyneth Paltrow, Will Smith and Channing Tatum to CBS chief Les Moonves and Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins.
While the Health Lions haven’t reached the paparazzi-worthy status of the entertainment Lions, the juxtaposition of the two events--along with changing and raised expectations for creative in healthcare and pharma marketing--lends heft to the health awards.
“The closer the Health Lions can be to the Lions, the better off we all are,” said Dave Sonderman, chief creative officer at InVentiv Health’s GSW. “… Generally speaking in the pharma space, the idea of celebrating life-changing creativity is a fantastic way to think about what it is we’re all trying to do.”
One yet-unanswered question is if will there be a Grand Prix winner for pharma? While AstraZeneca’s “Take it From a Fish” campaign took the best in show for pharma last year, the judges declined to award a grand prize for pharma in the show’s first year, 2014. Finalists, or short listed entries, won’t be announced until Friday, with awards handed out at a gala on Saturday night.
Around the awards are dozens of sessions and talks about creativity in pharma and healthcare marketing, including ones about the power of truth featuring Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts; using creativity to inspire brand love hosted by Johnson & Johnson and BBDO; and “Badass Science Seeks Advertising to Match” sponsored by Grey.
GSW’s Sonderman is moderating a panel discussion about the science and art of empathy, including Harvard research work and the role virtual reality is beginning to play. GSW associate director of innovation Travis Rooke, meanwhile, will participate in a first-ever on-site workshops with other global agency creatives to tackle air pollution and come up with creative and collaborative solutions.
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