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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry

Lions Health Takeaways: Mentor. Mentee. New momentum

Written by: | | Dated: Wednesday, August 17th, 2016


By Ellen Gorczyca
Creative Director
Publicis LifeBrands Medicus



By Hawk Young
University of Georgia (UGA)


As part of a mentorship program uniting UGA students with Publicis Health professionals, we were paired during the Cannes Lions Health Festival. And, although, we’re from totally different generations and backgrounds, and at different places career-wise, we were surprised by how much our experiences had in common.

Lions Health is a whirlwind. It’s overstimulating to be there at the center of the ad world, with so many influential people…and processing so much creativity and energy. It’s hard to fully appreciate it in real time. So, to come full circle, we decided to interview one another about what we learned there and what we found inspiring.

Ellen: What was your favorite campaign/piece of work and how did it inspire you?

Hawk: My favorite was ‘Man Boobs’. It was such a simple concept – using a man’s chest with a woman’s hands to show the proper self-examination technique – yet it spoke volumes. The campaign was educational, but also brought to light the ridiculousness of censorship and the necessity of gender equality as this campaign couldn’t have been done with a woman’s chest or would’ve been considered “pornographic”.

Ellen: “Man Boobs” was up there for me, too! A great, idea. Don’t you love how so much in health advertising might seem unmentionable amongst strangers elsewhere? In addition to Man Boobs, this year’s work covered Lady Balls, Last Words, Pee Against the Diagnosis, Condoms, Bondage and, of course, Bacon!

Hawk: It’s true! Outside of how important creativity is, especially in health, what was a key takeaway for you?

Ellen: More than ever the work is not about brands – it’s about giving people what they need. From Parkinsounds, which helps patients improve their gait; to a sugar detox plan to help people kick their sugar habit; to an X-ray cast, showing a kid’s own X-ray and making it easier to cope with having a cast; the work was about giving people tools and support to help them handle their health more effectively, giving them solutions.

Ellen: What learnings will you take back with you?

Hawk: I’m taking a “no nonsense” attitude back with me to Athens, GA. I have refreshed ambition, which is helping me to see things from a different perspective. I notice that I’m already more prone to speak my mind when I do not agree with a course of action.

Ellen: I’m re-energized as well….and focused on doing great creative for the rest of this year.

Hawk: How are you feeling now that you are back in the States?

Ellen: Energized, but in ways, sad, too. Let me explain. I spent my last day in France in Nice, having lunch on the beach, climbing up to the city’s highest point with my agency colleagues for a spectacular view of that crescent shaped harbor, having a truly French dinner in old town. When I think about the Bastille Day tragedy there, it breaks my heart. The Lions Festival, the south of France, and Nice are such wonderful places to experience, they almost make you forget we’re part of such a tumultuous world. What about you?

Hawk: Now that I am back in the States at home, strangely, I feel homesick. While in France, and at the Festival, I felt invigorated and inspired by my surroundings. I felt at home. It is a little disappointing to leave all of the that behind, but I brought back with me a new sense of self-awareness and a real love for the industry I am going into.

So, we shared a lot in what we experienced. And, leaving the festival, and with a bit of perspective, we’re both centered around creativity as the driver that will allow us to accomplish more this year – giving us new momentum to contribute, in a small but deeply meaningful way, to the health of humankind…through creativity.

Here’s to seeing you in Cannes next year!

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