Dead Fish breathes life into Lions Health

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Tom Richards is CCO of Havas Lynx EU and is responsible for the creative reputation of Havas Lynx. With over 20 years’ advertising experience producing award winning and category-changing work across every conceivable medium, Tom believes in in harnessing the power of creativity to solve problems, sell products and more importantly improve lives.

This week at the Cannes Lions Health, it was great to see a trend emerging using humour – often overlooked in the serious Pharma world – and great to see one of our own clients, AstraZeneca, taking centre stage, albeit not for work created by Havas Lynx.

The Take It From A Fish campaign starred spokesfish. Marty and Sal. The results speak for themselves: YouTube video completions were 100% over pharma benchmarks, and it was one of the top five performing Twitter campaigns ever in the category. It’s good to know that creativity really is effective. And real evidence that clients buy brave work.

Another great ad in this category was The Boy Raised by Goats by Pepto Bismol, check it out – very funny.

I spotted another trend emerging within the winners: cultural relevance. Ideas that add value to people’s lives, create a powerful encounter for consumers, and importantly, solve a problem that improves people’s lives.

The Health Grand Prix winner, Intimate Words from Procter and Gamble demonstrated this beautifully; designed to get women in rural Mexican towns to talk more openly about issues like cervical cancer.

Another example was Life Saving Dot by Grey Singapore. Iodine deficiency is a huge issue in rural India, and here’s an amazingly effective way to help solve the problem: iodized bindis. Genius!

The Lucky Iron Fish supported this trend too. I love the simplicity; that’s the power of a truly awesome idea, one you can literally tell someone in a simple sentence over a pint. Sorry, that should be a glass of rosé!

I got in touch with my feminine side appreciating Sport England’s This Girl Can that took home the Grand Prix For Good. Empowering women and challenging the stereotype, I love its magnitude; it flexes effortlessly to appeal to women across the globe. My male side didn’t quite get it.

The majority of Health & Wellness Lions were won by traditional consumer agencies and not healthcare, which goes to show that there’s a massive passion for health and well-being in agencies (so much so that the lunchtime pint has been ditched in favour of the gym).

Some awesome ideas included Bald Cartoons for child cancer awareness, and Back Up Memory, a great intuitive app for Alzheimer sufferers.

Separating Health & Wellness from the main event, Cannes Lions, was a mistake, making us feel like the estranged cousin, the healthy, boring one that doesn’t quite get creativity. Pity, as there’s such a huge desire in our health industry to catch up with consumer advertising, after all, doctors and patients are consumers aren’t they? And as the winners show, as an industry, we’re producing some of the most interesting work around.

Lions Health & Wellness should be integral, it’ll help us inspire clients and colleagues to produce better, awe-inspiring work.

The short list showed that storytelling, breakthrough ideas, digital innovation, craft: photography and illustration were in evidence, but only in small numbers. I’d love to see much more next year.

As I head back to UK feeling the warm glow of inspiration and sunburn I know what we’ve got to do to compete at Lions Health 2016

Healthcare advertising is definitely alive and kicking!