PRIDE: The big one – Cannes Lions

Blog

2018 was a big year for the Havas Lynx Group, after we won three Cannes Lions plus, the big one, Cannes Lions Healthcare Agency of the Year 2018 – the ultimate achievement in creativity. In this blog Tom Richards, CCO, explains why 2018 meant so much to Lynx and the current standard of creatives in the healthcare industry.

What’s the big deal with Cannes?
Cannes Lions is one of the most coveted and respected creative festivals in the world. It’s notoriously hard to win because only the best of the best of the best is awarded. It’s the pinnacle of what our industry can do and of what great ideas can achieve. It’s all about life-changing creativity.

So what does it mean to win there?
It’s huge, a real honour. It properly puts us on the map and says ‘Havas Lynx Group is here, now where’s the party?’. It’s about creating work that drives forward not only our business but also the pharma industry.

You won four awards – which means the most?
Healthcare Agency of the Year.

Why’s that?
Two reasons. Firstly, because it belongs to everyone at the agency. Not just the teams that picked up metal, but every single person that had a part to play, clients, colleagues, relatives, patients, all helping to raise our creative standards over the last couple of years. It’s truly awesome to see that recognised on an international stage. And secondly, because it sends a big bold message out to clients and competition alike that we’re the ones to watch.

What do you think of the standard of creatives in healthcare currently?
The standard at Cannes was incredible, really inspiring, but there’s always room for improvement – I wouldn’t want us to rest on our laurels. Whether that’s looking at the direction we’re heading in as an industry, or simply trying to make smarter use of some of the tactics and platforms out there.

Go on…
If we’re talking about tactics and platforms, PR is rarely used to its full advantage. It can give campaigns a huge platform and the opportunity to change more lives. Too often it’s an afterthought, which is shocking – it’s PR, it’s been around for ages! Linked to this is social media. There’s huge scope for connecting patients, solving problems, and doing tonnes of exciting stuff there. Also, I don’t think we do a great job of tying all these things together. As an industry we’re still not doing integrated, multi-platform campaigns very well.

You mentioned the direction healthcare’s heading in – where should it be heading?
I think if we want to be true to the idea of helping people, we have to place more focus on preventative healthcare. Social and behavioural factors account for 55% of your healthcare. That’s massive! Think of the potential there is to make a difference there. And yet we still live by this archaic notion of saving or curing people when they’re unwell, which puts a tremendous burden on physicians and healthcare systems – who are, let’s face it, under huge pressure. We need to move away from these old-fashioned models based around treating sickness, and move towards promoting wellness. It’s not about ‘beyond the pill’ anymore, it’s about before the pill, or without the pill.

Can pharma really do this?
I think they have to. And, not to toot the Havas Lynx Group horn, but when I think about some of the work we’ve been doing the last few years, I definitely think that’s the direction we’re pushing in. Things like Care4Today, a recovery support programme, which was built on non-pharmaceutical interventions (education, wellbeing support, and such things) and reduced hospital admissions by 58%. Or ‘The World vs. MS’ work we’ve been doing with Sanofi Genzyme, which is all about working with patients to identify and solve problems that have nothing to do with a drug or treatment, but are just problems that need solving. A lot of that stuff comes down to education and communication – stuff that healthcare comms is prime for!