As One Show fetes health and pharma winners, just 1 drugmaker snags an award

One Show Gold Pencil award
One Show awards recently went to health and pharma companies for the first time in more than a decade. (One Club)

The One Show’s return to health and pharma recently resulted in a slew of creative awards, but only one of them went to an actual drugmaker. 

Eleven campaigns from around the world took home One Show Pencils with nine gold, eight silver and seven bronze awards handed out in the new health, wellness & pharma category. The only pharma company to win, though, was RC Pharma, headquartered in China. The other winners included device makers, hospitals, government and public service or cause-related groups.

All told, there were more than 500 entries, with plenty of pharma brands among them, said Yash Egami, vice president of content and marketing for the One Club, which puts on the show.

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“I was in the room when they were judging and there were plenty of pharma brands, but it's a difficult category,” he said. "There are a lot more restrictions on pharma advertising so that makes it harder for them to take the kind of risks that they could in other areas.”

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Still, pharma companies shouldn’t be discouraged, but rather inspired by the work that won, he said.

One Show brought back health, wellness & pharma as a category to its awards lineup this year because the quality of work in the category has definitively improved over the past decade, Egami said. Previously, between 2001 and 2004, the One Show held a separate health and pharma show.

One of the gold winners was the Immunity Charm, created by McCann Health and McCann Worldgroup India, Mumbai for the Ministry of Public Health in Afghanistan. That campaign also won gold in the pharma category as well as the top prize in public service, the Grand Prix for Good, at Cannes Lions Health last year. The campaign was built around the concept of a handmade bracelet that adapts the cultural tradition of wearing beads to ward off evil spirits by adding colored beads that track a child’s immunization record.

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“Something like the Immunity Charm is such a simple idea, but has such big implications. It really is a very effective way to solve a problem,” Egami said. “…This is about trying to encourage the industry to think about creative ways not only to market their products, but also find creative solutions. That's what a lot of mainstream brands are doing. Look at Procter & Gamble. They sell household goods, but look at all the creative ways they've marketed those brands.”

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