It was good timing for Havas Lynx Group's Elizabeth Egan: Just before setting off to the south of France for the first in-person Cannes Lions in two years, the announcement came in that she had been promoted. Egan is now the new CEO of Havas Health & You (HH&Y) Europe.
Speaking to Fierce Pharma Marketing at the Cannes Lions event, Egan said that it was “so wonderful to be back walking la Croisette in Cannes, soaking up the creative atmosphere and taking part in the discussions” after a two-year pandemic hiatus from the ad and comms awards festival.
“And from a timing perspective having just taken on the role of CEO, Europe – Havas Health & You, I was bursting with pride for our incredible company and so happy to be having face-to-face client, partner and team live catch-ups.”
This year in the Pharma and Health & Wellness awards, we saw two winners for two very practical products. One was a new “voice banking” software that can store the voices of those diagnosed with motor neurone disease and, when those patients lose their ability to speak, can have that voice restored, rather than rely on a generic, robotic voice app.
The second was probably the lowest tech product to win at Cannes Lions: The Killer Pack, a biodegradable coil housed in a cardboard box that can be literally thrown out onto a garbage heap to help stop the outdoor spread of malaria by mosquitos.
These top two awards show how Cannes is changing in its mindset, hoping to tackle the bigger global issues, and it was no surprise that on the return to the south of France, talk about equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) issues, as well as climate change, predominated.
Havas took a central role here at its Havas café at Cannes for a hosted talk on exactly these issues with Wolfgang Cramer, climate and biodiversity scientist, lead author of the IPCC (the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2007.
Egan said: “It was exciting to be able to discuss sustainability, greenwashing and climate emergencies with so many like-minded creative brains and with [Cramer] as our expert.
“We also had the wonderful opportunity to host hundreds of students from all over the world to share what it’s like to be in this fantastic industry and share what we’re doing from an ED&I standpoint, addressing how communications and our industry can make lasting change.”
Havas Health & You unites Havas Life, Health4Brands (H4B), Lynx, Red Havas and Havas Health Plus, and its European business has more than doubled in the past five years.
Egan has nearly three decades of experience on both the agency and client sides of communication and general management, including at EA (Electronic Arts), WW (Weight Watchers International) and AstraZeneca.
She joined the Havas Lynx Group in 2018 and became its president in 2019. She said of her new European role that “not only has the European market expanded dramatically over the course of the last few years, but health is also more of a focus than ever for consumers.
“This makes our strategic presence and investment in this region more important than ever. The global population has never been so alert to the importance of personal health and healthcare choices for all.”