Facebook, Google and Twitter techs to push digital media at Cannes pharma ad fest

Tech giants will join the creative and health-focused ad festival in Cannes this weekend to woo pharma marketers.

Digital media giants will take to the south of France once again this weekend to woo pharma and healthcare marketers. Facebook, Google and Twitter will present and meet up with marketers and ad agencies at the Cannes Lions Health two-day ad festival with an eye toward accelerating the shift from traditional TV and print media to digital and social channels.

The shift is well underway in consumer media—thanks to consumer media consumption changes and fewer limitations on consumer companies—but pharma is still experimenting and developing strategies.

Meredith Guerriero, Facebook's director of health, said the tech leaders come to Cannes to help bring pharma and healthcare along.

“The tech companies are really leading the way in terms of innovation, moving fast and being able to understand the consumer and bringing more one-to-one connections,” she said. “I think we are really uniquely positioned to help them. … We’re all better together to bring those clients along that [ad tech] journey.”

She is also presenting a talk, along with Allergan executive Carey Reynolds, on a Facebook Restasis case study as “a strong example pharma can relate to especially within this more creative space at Cannes.”

Twitter’s session will take a deep dive on data and the ability to enable and drive patient connections and care, while Google takes a more traditional approach with a creative guru from Google Zoo, its in-house think tank for agencies and brands, to share how technology inspires future ideas by prototyping experiments.

The media giants aren’t the only kinds of tech companies invading the shores of Cannes. IBM Watson and Control Bionics, along with Google, Twitter and other medical technology teams, will be showing off the latest and upcoming devices and software inside the MedTech Expo, sponsored by Omnicom Health Group.

In the second year for MedTech, topics and tech that aren’t quite mainstream yet will be featured. However, they’re important for pharma marketers to understand now, said Jo Ann Saitta, Omnicom Health’s chief digital officer. That includes artificial intelligence, augmented reality used for both training and empathy, genomic medicine, chatbots, and bionic wearables.

“Everyone kind of scratches their head and says, ‘Wait, this is the biggest creative festival in the world,’” she said. “But healthcare communicators need to understand how the dynamics are changing, how consumers and doctors are getting information, and what are the new tools and platforms they’re using. … They’re really trying to understand how to leverage these new technologies and find out what they should be conscious of when planning a patient journey or a physician journey.”

This year's Cannes Lions Health coverage is brought to you by Klick Health. All editorial content is written and produced independently of our sponsor.