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Nick Colucci, Publicis Healthcare Communications Group on how award shows are about promoting innovative thinking

This week we were lucky enough to speak Nick Colucci CEO, Publicis Healthcare Communications Group

With PHCG since its inception in 2003, Nick took the reins as CEO in 2007 and sparked a dramatic shift. Once a fragmented group of agencies, PHCG became a global powerhouse under Nick’s leadership. Today, it has unrivaled capabilities, expanded global client relationships, and a footprint in emerging healthcare markets. Nick seeks to redefine the health and wellness market—as testament to this vision, 2013 netted the most diversified client portfolio in PHCG’s 10-year history.

Nick’s broad perspective was honed working both on the client and agency sides. Prior to his role at PHCG, Nick was CEO of Medicus Life Brands (now Publicis Life Brands Medicus), and previously served as Vice President of Marketing and Sales at EyeSys Technologies and Marketing Director at Roche.
Nick sits on the boards of several organizations including the American Heart Association of New York (where he was named a “Superhero of Heart and Stroke” in 2013), and leads key initiatives for the Coalition for Healthcare Communication.

Nick was honored as “Marketer of the Year” at PM360’s 2012 Trailblazer Awards and twice was named to PharmaVOICE’s “100 Most Inspiring People.”


AH: Are there any projects you are working on that we should keep an eye out for in the coming months?

NC: In a few weeks, Publicis Healthcare will be at the inaugural Cannes Lions Health Festival. PHCG has secured Jim Stengel, former Chief Marketing Officer of Procter & Gamble, Founder of The Jim Stengel Company, and author of Grow, to facilitate the very first Cannes Lions Health session on the main stage. Jim will be joined by and Alexandra von Plato, President and Global Chief Creative Officer, Digitas Health LifeBrands and Publicis LifeBrands, and me for a session about how the new generation of creative leaders can transform healthcare marketing and encourage people to take better control of their health.

Publicis Healthcare will also contribute its leadership and expertise to the juries: Kathy Delaney, Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness Global Chief Creative Officer, will serve as the jury president for the Health & Wellness jury, Alexandra von Plato, President and Global Chief Creative Officer, Digitas Health LifeBrands and Publicis LifeBrands, will serve as a juror on the Pharma jury, and Jacqueline Nolan, Executive Creative Director, Digitas Health, will serve as a juror on the Health & Wellness jury.


AH: Do we really need award shows? What value do you see them offering?

NC: Awards shows in our business are becoming less about individual recognition and much more about promoting innovative thinking—creative ways to inform and educate patients and caregivers about wellbeing, health and living with disease. We also want to recognize new ways to talk about our health, and new media to get the messages out. In general, good “award shows” showcase our best work, raising the industry standard.


AH: Do you think we sometimes use regulation an excuse to make work that doesn’t live up to standard consumer advertising?

NC: Yes; but it shouldn’t. Regulation doesn’t limit creativity, but in fact empowers us to be more ingenious.


AH:  Do you think healthcare agencies should start planning their own media to get the creative control they need?

NC: Absolutely, and that’s why we established Publicis Health Media—to help pharma, health, and wellness clients to connect with their audiences with relevant engaging experiences. We believe that embedding real expertise from the very beginning—knowing where, when, and how messages are best received—is critical to the creative and content development process. The current success of PHM demonstrates that clients think so too!


AH: Thanks!