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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry

Top Takeaways from Cannes Lions Health

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


By Scott Watson
Chief Creative Officer
Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide



At Cannes, we were fortunate enough to gain exposure to what is arguably the greatest creative output our industry has to offer. Only the most exceptional work makes it to the final rounds of judging at Cannes, where all lucky enough to attend are afforded the opportunity to see some truly great healthcare advertising from across the globe. Following are a number of themes that consistently arose as I was reviewing the winning submissions at Cannes:

Great ideas are built from great and insightful data  It was universally apparent at Cannes that the winning submissions were about more than just great creative expression – they were supported by unprecedented insights and responsive data that highlighted the communications’ impact. Many of the strongest ideas began with a grounding insight, which then proceeded to tell the story of how the idea helped to address or change the desired outcome.

The power of storytelling  Beyond the idea itself, it’s the crafting of the story behind the idea that wins your heart and ultimately, wins at Cannes. Submissions ranged from long-form films to static works of art – each one very impactful, each finalist telling a compelling story that broadened our perspectives and moved us. There were a range of emotions that led from laughter, to crying, to amazement – very powerful.

Innovation did not get in the way of the idea – it only enhanced it  At Cannes Lions Health, there were many notable, industry-pushing ideas that were either enhanced or supported by technology. Not only did the ideas themselves move the viewer, but the use of technology often helped to complete the story and enrich the work. Key takeaway here: innovation is about significantly more than a cool device…and it was seen in all forms of communication at Cannes.

Atypical ideas and approaches unleash the power of “story” – and win  When you leave Cannes, your creative senses are heightened and your thought processes go into overdrive, as you immediately begin to think of ways to create something unique and meaningful, something that may be applied to existing or future work. Award-winning work at Cannes reflects anything but typical promotional tactics. It’s clear that healthcare marketers need to look for the unique opportunities within our brands, clients, and elsewhere to generate ideas that will not only have a significant positive impact, but are also worthy of Cannes Lions. We must look to these nontraditional areas and harness the opportunity to create something magical to show the power and depth of the stories that are just waiting to be told.

Global creative connectivity abounds  Cannes is a melting pot of creative souls. It’s where the best of the best come together to celebrate great work, share stories, and feed off each other’s energy. It’s where a global creative team can meet up for the purpose of celebrating our industry’s triumphs, and find that the added benefit is the work they’re exposed to inevitably propels them to dream bigger, and produce greater ideas that will help move people and brands. Cultural barriers are broken by the power of creativity at Cannes. It doesn’t matter the language or region the idea comes from. It ultimately comes down to the brilliance of the idea, and that a great idea can and will move anyone, even with subtitles.

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