We recently spoke with Christoph Damanik, newly appointed Creative Director of Havas Life Düsseldorf about his move to the wonderful world of Healthcare and all things creative:
AdvertisingHealth (AH): Firstly, thank you for taking the time to talk to us here at AdHealth. Congrats on your new role at Havas Life Düsseldorf! How have you found the transition from Consumer to Healthcare advertising?
Christoph Damanik (CD): Frankly speaking, I had some doubts at the beginning.
It is said that Healthcare Communication is all about dry scientific studies, loads of regulations and most frightening, no room for creativity. Now working within this category for some couple of months one thing is extraordinary cool: Everybody here is eager for creativity, not only the creatives but also my account colleagues and even our medical writers who are usually scientifically driven by nature.
But what surprised me the most, our clients want creative work.
And they appreciate my experience as there are plenty of similarities between the Consumer and Healthcare world.
For me it feels like being at the right spot at the right time. That’s amazing.
AH: In your short time at the agency, what do you think is the biggest opportunity within Health & Wellness and Pharma advertising?
CD: As I’ve already mentioned there is plenty of space for creative work. This can make a big difference. Not for its own sake but to build brands.
And making a brand tangible this is how I would define my job in general.
I think a holistic brand experience based on innovative products could have much more mileage than communicating solely product RTBs or create explanatory problem/solution stories.
A unique brand is a strong differentiator also in the Healthcare world.
But a holistic brand experience incorporates and requires a lot – like strategic thinking, creative excellence or a smart campaign orchestration and not to forget a consistent brand behavior – for its customers but also internally for its employees.
To sum it up, I would love to build brands which make a meaningful difference.
AH: As Creative Director, you’re responsible for guiding the creative department to making better work for your clients. What, to you, defines a successful creative idea?
CD: You have to define your own quality benchmark. And therefor award shows are really helpful to adjust your perception of what is good and what not.
“Try to create ideas that you can be proud of!” This is what I’ve been told and this is the simple wisdom I’m telling the creatives knowing that proudness has subjective reasons. And this is because your idea is always related to something may it be the brief, some executional givens, your personal style or even the zeitgeist.
Fortunately or unfortunately ideas usually have a short half-life period.
What is important for me in the long run: How successful does the brand evolve.
And each idea should be one puzzle piece to create the bigger picture.
If we all do our job correctly the brand can become something valuable for our life.
I know it’s romanticizing but this is what I’m passionate about.
AH: Do you think awards are important? If so, tell us why?
CD: Definitely important. It’s about setting up a benchmark to judge your work against.
Besides that, award shows could give you more visibility in the market. This means being one step closer to your next new business challenge.
AH: What’s your favorite award-winning campaign from the last year?
CD: It’s hard to pick just one – but I like the Lacoste case “Save our Species”. They’ve replaced the famous crocodile logo by ten endangered animals on their iconic shirts.
The number of available shirts equals the number of left animals. As you can imagine it was a super limited edition.
This simply shows what a brand can do.
In the pharma sector it’s the award winner “Blink to Speak” case. It’s about establishing a new language which just works with eye blinks. For some very serious diseases like ALS it’s the only way for an effective, simple and cheap way of communication, without any unaffordable high-tech computer equipment.
AH: Finish this sentence: Healthcare advertising is…
CD: For me an unexplored territory where we haven’t found the boundaries yet.
AH: Is Havas Life Düsseldorf working on anything exciting at the moment? (That you can share)
CD: Yes, sure. There are various new business projects which are always exciting and challenging. As I have joined Havas Life just for a couple of months now the big exciting projects unfortunately are not ready to be published yet.
AH: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? (in life / career)
CD: For your job you need to figure out what is important for you. Find your personal balance between having fun, being appreciated or getting the money you want.
At least two of these points have to be accomplished to be a happy person.
AH: Any tips for other creatives who are considering a job in Healthcare?
CD: Choose your battlefields bravely, be always open minded and then go all-in with what you’ve got to offer. This is not Healthcare specific though but my way to getting started.
AH: Thanks Christoph, and all the best! We look forward to seeing your work!