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#LionsHealth Insights – Tom Richards & Zuleika Burnett


We met up with Tom Richards, Chief Creative Officer of Havas Lynx Europe, and Zuleika Burnett, Executive Director of Havas Life Medicom for some #LionsHealth Insights:

AdvertisingHealth (AH): What are you looking forward to seeing at this year’s Lions Health festival?

Zuleika: I’m going to be looking out for ads and campaigns which tell a story. Something that has an emotional touch, that I can relate to and that allows me to empathise with the subject or the experience. Emotions can make us change our beliefs or perspectives on what actions we might take, and an emotional story makes a great piece of communication for me. 2017 is going to be a great year at Cannes.

Tom: I completely agree, understanding people is so important in this industry and using empathy to create a connection is often the key to a great piece of work. As well as this I’m looking forward to seeing old friends, new mates, some great talks and bastards! What I mean by that is, the type of creatives that when you see their work you go ‘Bastard! Wish I’d thought of that!’

AH: Do you have a favorite piece of work we can expect to see ­­

Zuleika: My favourite piece is the “We’re the Superhumans” Rio Paralympics 2016 Trailer, Channel 4. Apart from the fact that it’s perfect in every way, the music, the edit and joyfully brilliant; it is also one of the most accessible ads ever. It was accompanied by an outdoor campaign, as well as a multitude of online activity including films telling the stories of the ad’s stars. “We’re the superhumans” will now also be studied by GCSE and A level media studies pupils. And to top it all, research also found that the campaign shifted attitudes – 74% of people felt more comfortable discussing disability after seeing it and 59% felt it improved their perception of those with disabilities. Advertising at it’s best. It’s message goes way beyond the Paralympics.

Tom: It’s going to be really interesting to see what wins in the Pharma category, with all the regulations and closed network marketing you don’t often get to see the work that’s happening in this industry. In the world of health there is a phenomenal amount of great work and, as Zuleika mentioned, “We’re the Superhumans” is one of them. Another of my favourites has to be “Meet Graham” by Clemenger BBDO, who introduced us to the only person designed to survive a road traffic accident. They created an interactive sculpture that has been used as an educational tool, it’s also elevated the conversation surrounding the topic of road safety. It’s a brilliant example of turning a brief on its head and tackling a problem with a completely new approach. I also love DDB Berlin’s “Check it before it’s removed” breast cancer awareness campaign, which used Facebook’s strict nudity policy as a platform. It encouraged women to post and share pictures of their breasts on social media, which were eventually removed. The strong parallels between this and the reality of breast cancer created the erm, exposure it deserved.

AH: What is the biggest challenge facing healthcare advertising?

Tom: For me, overcoming the past is still a big challenge. As an industry, particularly Pharma, we often default to the familiar, but to really make a difference this has got to change. We have to be progressive and take risks. I don’t mean flaunting the law, but spotting opportunities where ideas can have a massive impact.

Zuleika: I would really like to see more people willing to take risks and also pay for quality and the craft. There are many more creatives out there and also faster ways to produce work, and part of this is due to technology helping to achieve amazing results. But there is one thing that technology can’t do, and that is think of ideas. The best ideas should win, and not the latest, fastest or cheapest gear.

AH: What is the biggest opportunity?

Zuleika: Short films and the moving image are the dream. Moving from photography into directing is a natural progression and I believe these skills can be honed and developed. Film allows for the expression of a narrative and the creation of powerful imagery. As long as we can reach our audiences by cutting through the clutter, and create something we are passionate about, that inspires them – I’d say that’s our biggest opportunity.

Tom: Again, I totally agree with Zuleika, well-crafted content is going to be key, served up in places where our audience spend their time. We can’t be so arrogant as to expect them to actually seek out our work. We touched briefly on empathy, but I really do think that we must use our emotional intelligence to fully understand what people need and what problem we need to help with. It’s this knowledge that will help us achieve stronger ideas.

AH: Do you predict seeing any trends in the work this year?

Zuleika: I think that we are going to see many more and better use of VR at Cannes this year. Key medical fields that are already benefiting from virtual reality technology include surgery, dentistry, nursing, medical imaging, psychotherapy, clinical procedures, and neuroscience, to name a few. Essentially, every field of medical specialty is a market for VR innovation. Medical education, collaboration and disease training represents a market in itself. For example; replacing standard simulators at congresses with virtual simulators offers leapfrog improvements in terms of the learning experience for healthcare professionals. Healthcare agencies and clients are now increasingly aware of VR’s usefulness in medical education and its potential to change behaviour and to deliver fully immersive, multi-sensory and interactive medical education experience.

Tom: Empowerment and overcoming social stigma are going to continue to play a part. I also think there is going to be a trend around problem-solving and how we use creativity to find these solutions. It could be how one little idea can solve a big issue, and maybe on a shoestring budget.

AH: What’s your prognosis for the healthcare industry post Lions Health 2017?

Zuleika: There will be greater interest in the growing health and wellness market, by everyone. Today is all about wellness and about health and about you – people are focused on their total health – this offers great creative opportunities for healthcare agencies such as ours.

Tom: I agree, people do invest a lot more time in themselves and their health & wellbeing today. Possibly as a result the industry is gathering momentum and the creative standard is improving as more opportunities become available. Hopefully pharma brands will gain more confidence and embrace the good in what they do, leaving past stigmas behind. This will uncover braver clients who will continue to help us break boundaries. Ultimately, I’d like to see more bastards! And that’ll be my takeaway this year, it’ll give me the determination and inspiration to strive for better.