One of the privileges of organizing events is direct contact with your customers. It allows the process to be iterative and collaborative—to gain feedback, seek out opinion and have an ongoing dialogue with the audience that you serve.
Since the 2014 launch of Lions Health, to help shape the program each year, we’ve been in continuous contact with the pharmaceutical industry, staying abreast of the opportunities and challenges marketers face. And during the festival, the work entered and the conversations that happen in and around the festival allow us to gauge how well we’re fulfilling our mission: Championing creativity in healthcare communications—and driving industry change. What we’ve heard and seen has been incredibly encouraging.
As pharma companies continue to move “beyond the pill,” the value of the communicator’s role is becoming more meaningful and rewarding. As one senior marketer told me, “What we’re doing is an exchange of value, not just an exchange of messages—we’re trying to help improve lives.” The patient voice is also growing louder and the diversity of information access points is increasing. This places more pressure on marketers to be authentic and engage in a wider conversation around healthcare management. This is coming through in the winning campaigns, too.
In year one of Lions Health, our two juries thought many entries were close to being great, but not quite there yet. By 2015 they noted the standard had markedly improved—enough to award the first Pharma Grand Prix to AstraZeneca and DigitasLBi New York for “Take it From a Fish.” It was work that jury President Rob Rogers, Chief Creative Officer and Co-CEO of Sudler, said “blew the door off the category” and dispelled the myth that the regulatory environment was a barrier to ideas.
Local Insights Enhance Relevance—and Impact
In the Health & Wellness Lions, campaigns chasing common denominators have shifted to work that builds out from local insight for greater impact and relevance. The Grand Prix winner, Proctor & Gamble Always’ “Intimate Words” from Leo Burnett Mexico is the embodiment of our “life-changing creativity” principles and a powerful example of how creativity can change outcomes. In the words of jury President Andrew Spurgeon, ECD of Langland, “Always managed to create a legacy by supporting an individual community, which in turn demonstrates the brand’s commitment to women the world over.”
It’s still tough for ground-breaking ideas to rise out of the restrictive framework of healthcare communications, but we know there’s fierce determination among storytellers to push through those boundaries—and that it’s making a difference. The desire to be more creative is growing stronger, and the festival is helping to shine a light on the kind of results that can be achieved. People I speak to say that a meaningful dialogue, through this forum and beyond, will be instrumental in keeping that momentum going.
I’m excited about the future of this industry, and how Lions Health can serve it. We’re still in our infancy and need your input to continue championing creativity and help it flourish. Please get in touch to have your say, and know how much we look forward to seeing all your work in the coming months.