ELITE Creative Director Michael Austin of PALIO

Michael Austin

Executive Creative Director



100% Idealist, 100% Realist

As Michael Austin likes to say about PALIO, “We’re not a ‘healthcare communications company.’ We’re an ad agency.” And that colors every instinct he has and decision he makes. Michael revels in the freedom of creative license while he simultaneously relishes the responsibility of building up a NYC-headquartered agency. His mission—and PALIO’s—is to put health craft into healthcare.

Under Michael’s stewardship as Executive Creative Director, PALIO is quickly raising a high profile among peers and new clients. Since taking the helm in 2014, he has been the driving force behind reimagining the PALIO brand. Michael knows that crafting great stories doesn’t just come from pushing great ideas—it means vigilantly pushing every client and every team member to make brave decisions.

In the past year, Michael and PALIO have helped many clients understand that their brand isn’t compelling or interesting—it’s an entirely unique narrative the world needs to hear. For example, a leading oncology-breakthrough company has bold ambitions for transforming how healthcare data is used (Celgene iKU). A novel abuse-deterrence technology gives new hope to a growing social epidemic (Grünenthal). Developing diagnostics especially for developing nations (Hologic Human Care). A blockbuster medicine keeps proving its value in an evolving field (Otezla).

Michael began his advertising career in 1999 working on the professional campaign for Viagra at Cline, Davis, & Mann. Bitten by the healthcare bug, he has spent the past 18 years delving into the minds of doctors and patients alike. Though he has won numerous awards throughout his career, the only award he covets now is the reward of helping his teams do the best work of their career. He is keenly aware that creativity thrives when it is encouraged yet challenged.

Helping birth and maintain billion-dollar brands in both the U.S. and global marketplaces, while still inciting creativity among clients and colleagues alike, is what drives him to never settle for the easy answer. Michael’s favorite question to would-be clients is, “If you are smart enough to hire us, will you be brave enough to listen to us?”


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