Lions Health: ‘Our work changes lives”

Clockwise from top left:  Alexandra Philip Reeves, Richard Levy, Faith Popcorn, Ruth Berktold, Karen Strauss, Charles Rosier and R John Fidelino

Clockwise from top left: Alexandra Philip Reeves, Richard Levy, Faith Popcorn, Ruth Berktold, Karen Strauss, Charles Rosier and R John Fidelino


Lions Health kicks off this morning with Transformation Is A Thrill Ride, an insightful session from GSK Consumer Healthcare + Medialink on the Health Inspiration Stage in Palais at 10.00. Over the course of the two-day festival there will be more than 30 sessions involving influencers, innovators and thought leaders from agencies, academia, biotech, brands and media.

Att 11.45, for example, Facebook head of healthcare-research partnerships Freddy Abnousi will analyse the social determinants of health in a session entitled Towards The Source Code Of Nurture. There’s also a session at 12.15  from MyHealthTeams and Biogen titled Reimagining Patient Engagement In The Social Media Era. This will explore how pharma manufacturers and marketers can use social media as a force for good.
At 14:30, Yes Products owner Ruth Berktold looks at how to address the ”elderly demographic time bomb” in Y-AGE: Resilient Design For An Over-ageing Population. One significant factor in allowing a society to age gracefully, she argues, will be the introduction of technology and various innovative design products that are able to act as independence-enhancing technologies.

Proof that not all innovations are top-down, the 15.30 session  features a teenager called Alexandra Philip Reeves who created emojiHEALTH, a health chat bot designed to engage and activate teens. Her aim is to help them navigate the deluge of healthcare information available in the digital market.

Gender is a key issue on Tuesday morning in the session Who Runs The World? Educated And Healthy Young Women (10.00, UN Foundation and McCann Health). Educated and healthy girls stay in school longer, marry later, delay childbearing, have healthier children, develop life skills and earn higher incomes. They can also help lift themselves and their families out of poverty. This session explores the role of creativity and the collaborative global efforts being taken to support young girls and women. Also on Tuesday at 11.00 is an uplifting story about how a Toronto kids hospital reinvented its approach to fund-raising. SickKids: From Charity to Performance Brand is about how an entire city rallied round an iconic $1.3bn fundraising programme.

Another of Tuesday’s sessions will explore the line where healthcare meets beauty — and whether it is possible to build a business based more on purpose than profit. Charles Rosier from the Augustinus Bader group will explain how his company is at the forefront of stem-cell medicine and is centred on a philosophy that medical care should be a universal right. Rosier will outline his company’s holistic approach to commercialising the company’s biomedical discoveries — in Futuristic Skincare: Revolutionary Science Disrupting The Beauty Industry, at 11.45.

Tuesday afternoon will see futurist Faith Popcorn explore the role of mood manipulation in a session entitled Mood Manipulation: Future Vision 2028 (14.15). And it wouldn’t be Lions Health without at least one session exploring the overlap between pharma industry and drug abuse. In Can Creative Marketing Help Solve The Opioid Crisis, Ketchum chief strategy and creativity officer Karen Strauss will investigate the prescription opioid crisis in the US. Strauss will talk about how The National Safety Council, Energy BBDO and Ketchum created “Prescribed to Death: A Memorial to the Victims of the Opioid Crisis.”. This campaign features an art installation of 22,000 pills carved with images of people who have died from prescription opioid ODs.

Lions Health is, of course, also about its two important annual award categories: Pharma and Health & Wellness. This year, the president of Health & Wellness is Cannes Lions veteran, R John Fidelino, executive creative director at InterbrandHealth.  Pharma, meanwhile, is being overseen by this year’s president Rich Levy, chief creative officer of FCB Health.

Fidelino said: “As much as people desire health, getting and staying healthy is probably one of the biggest grudge acts. It’s far easier to go off the rails rather than take care of yourself. If creativity can entice people to do something they don’t want to do, that’s a feat. We’ll be looking for work that incites personal motivation and drives action.”

He added: “We’ll also be looking for social impact. Wash your hands. Don’t drink and drive. Addiction is a disease. These ideas are learned. We’ll explore how creativity raises awareness of ideas such as these, shapes understanding that they matter and orients us on what can and should be done. Great creativity turns ideas into beliefs so they enter into our psyche and become a cultural norm.”

As for Pharma, Levy said: “The decisions we make, the images we capture and the words we use, all can have a profound effect on the health of millions of people. That’s what makes healthcare advertising different. We’re not actually selling a product as much as we’re offering a state of being. That doesn’t make it better. But in some ways, it gives it a higher purpose.”
According to Levy, 2018 will be “the year that we dispel the myth that regulated pharma work can’t be as creative as unregulated work. This is the year when ideas and innovation and craft and execution all come together. This is the year when big, smart ideas prove that they can be created anywhere in the world. And, once again, this year, our collective work will have changed the trajectory of millions of lives.”
This year is that companies won’t be able to enter both Pharma and Health & Wellness — which should avoid a blurring of the lines between the two categories. Another change is that Lions Health is being held at the same time as the main Cannes Lions event. This has been welcomed by participants, who say that creative cross-fertilisation between the two events is invaluable.


Harriet Palmer