Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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Cannes Lion Health Sends Message to Pharma Marketers, Again: Your Ad Creativity Stinks!

Cannes Lion Health Sends Message to Pharma Marketers, Again: Your Ad Creativity Stinks! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

For the second time in its four-year history, the pharma jury at the Cannes Lions Health International Festival of Creativity did not award a Grand Prix (read “Pharma Advertising is So Bad It Has No Big Winner at Cannes Lions Health 2014”).

 

“We want to send a clear and strong message what a pharma entry and what a pharma winner looks like,” June Laffey, creative director at McCann Health in Australia and Southeast Asia, and this year's Lions Health pharma jury president, said. “We only awarded what was the best work in the pharma industry.”

 

The only U.S. work to win a Gold Lion was a campaign developed by Polaris, a non-profit that fights human trafficking, and Interpublic Group's Area 23, called the Anti-Trafficking Exam and Otoscope. It won for its use of technology.

 

Several drugmakers won Bronze Lions: Boehringer Ingelheim, with McCann Health and Craft Worldwide, for a Pradaxa campaign; Merck, with Matter Unlimited, The Whitelist Collective, and Marina Maher Communications, for a Merck for Mothers campaign; and Roche, with Langland, for a clinical trial campaign.

 

In the first year of Lions Health, the pharma jury declined to award a Grand Prix. AstraZeneca later won, in 2015, for its unbranded campaign for Take It From a Fish and last Philips took home the Grand Prix for its Breathless Choir campaign.

 

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I'm Not the Only One to Suggest Lions Health Grand Prix Smells Fishy!

I'm Not the Only One to Suggest Lions Health Grand Prix Smells Fishy! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

The jury's decision to award the top prize at the Lions Health creativity festival to a humorous campaign about a pair of fish talking about triglyceride levels answered the question of what a Grand Prix in the pharma category looks like. But it also raised eyebrows among some skeptical US agency executives.


The jury last year declined to name a Grand Prix in the pharma category (read "Pharma Advertising is So Bad It Has No Big Winner at Cannes Lions Health 2014"). That decision prompted calls for stronger creativity in healthcare, especially among US agencies. But this year's winning entry, “Take it from a Fish,” developed by New York-based Publicis Groupe agency DigitasLBI for AstraZeneca, which makes a prescription fish-oil drug that helps reduce triglyceride levels, did little to stem those calls (read "Like 3-Day Old Fish, #LionsHealth Grand Prix Prize Stinks!").


“I'm not sure a Grand Prix should have been awarded this year,” said John Cahill, president and CEO of Interpublic Group's McCann Health. 


The jury's decision to name the DigitasLBI campaign was questioned by other agency executives, as well. For one, it's a humor campaign, which seems to conflict with an ideological perspective that pharmaceutical creativity should be about saving lives, or at least dramatically improving them. It's oft-cited that creative excellence in healthcare advertising depends on stirring the emotions of the viewer and tugging the heartstrings enough to spur some kind of action.


Pharma Guy's insight:


Commenting on the choice, Jury President Rob Rogers, Chief Creative Officer and Co-CEO, Sudler, said that the jury had been captivated by the standard of work, which he described as being of greater variety and quality this year and a sign that the competition had come of age. 

The Grand Prix winner, he said, “blew the door off the category” and dispelled the myth that a challenging environment was a barrier to ideas. “Regulations don’t define creativity. Constraints can sometimes help creativity.”

Personally, I don't see what's creative about Abbott and Costello channeled as fish.

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Will #Pharma Win Top Award at 2015 Lions Health? Probably Not. But They Will Party On!

Will #Pharma Win Top Award at 2015 Lions Health? Probably Not. But They Will Party On! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Rob Rogers, whose day job is chief creative officer and co-CEO of the Americas for Sudler & Hennessey, attended Lions Health last year as a health and wellness juror. 


This year he's serving as the pharma jury president. He spoke with MM&Mabout whether pharma is ready to win a Grand Prix....


Lee: Given the talk last year about pharma not winning a top award, is that something you expect to change and lead to more creativity this year?


Rogers: We didn't want to award a Grand Prix to anything [in pharma]. [The jurors] had a lot of discussion in the pharma category, and they just couldn't settle on anything that they felt was worthy of it. The weight of expectation [is that] at some point in the near future, we should be able to award a Grand Prix in pharma. Maybe this year will be the year!


Lee: What about the industry's role in becoming more creative? Is that something that can be addressed in a year? Or will the same mentality exist this year as well?


Rogers: We've had more interest from clients, which is a great sign. I haven't seen the final list of attendees but I know there are some clients coming, which is very exciting. A chance for them to be part of the dialogue is what we want. We know this is not supposed to be a one-sided affair or it's not supposed to be just us preaching at the choir about the value of creativity. It will become so much more meaningful when clients really get engaged.


The digital side of the business is going to lead the way on that. There are more interesting and perhaps more innovative ideas coming out, particularly being led by some of the digital parts of companies. I was interested to see a couple of recent hires being made on the client side, people from agencies.


That makes me think about the convergence of Big Data and wearable technology and then you combine that with an iPhone and what that might look like. And that's a pretty creative place to be. Maybe it's just that wearables are redefining [creativity]. We're not just talking about print and TV anymore. We're talking about ideas that come together to create a third thing, and that's very powerful and exciting. What does modern creative look like?


Lee: With fewer clients than expected attending last year, did you find that lacking?


Rogers: There's a stigma about it. The fact is, this thing's held in the south of France. But if you compare it to the traditional big Cannes show, there were 16 years before a single client came to that show. And here we are in year two and clients are coming. I think they want to come to the party and they want to be part of the conversation.


Pharma Guy's insight:


A sentiment frequently expressed in Twitter posts by attendees to last year's festival was "we get to do great work and save lives. That matters." This was a tweet made by an agency that decided that its creative for soft drinks and fried chicken is worth displaying as the header of its Twitter account (see image above) and NOT any healthcare/pharma ad creative. I wonder how the guys in charge of healthcare advertising in this agency feel about this. No matter, party on! For more on that, read Pharma Advertising is So Bad It Has No Bug Winner at Lions Health 2014: http://bit.ly/1dbHZt8 

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Don't Worry Bayer, I'm Not Blogging This - Sexist, Award-Winning Ad. LOL!

Don't Worry Bayer, I'm Not Blogging This - Sexist, Award-Winning Ad. LOL! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

In a remarkable turn of events, Bayer has now distanced itself from a controversial Brazilian aspirin ad made by AlmapBBDO that won a bronze Lion in Cannes—and which caused a stir when it was accused of being sexist.

 

The client now says the agency had run the ad solely to win awards. In addition, Bayer says it will not allow the campaign to ever be used again.

 

In a statement to Adweek, Bayer acknowledged approving the ad, but said it ran only in "limited placement" in Brazil and that the company hasn't done any aspirin advertising in the country for "several years."

 

Bayer also said the agency, not the client, paid to run the ad. AlmapBBDO confirmed to Adweek. Thus, it appears the entry was targeted at Cannes judges and not consumers, which many in the industry might consider to be an example of "scam ads" that are crafted solely for the awards circuit.

 

"The concept was presented to our local marketing team in Brazil by BBDO as one of several campaigns that the agency intended to submit for this year's Cannes Lions festival," the Bayer statement said. "In order to meet the requirements for submission to Cannes, BBDO paid for limited placement in Brazil. Bayer has not advertised Aspirin through any channel in Brazil for several years. We have asked that BBDO discontinue any further use, dissemination or promotion of this campaign."

 

The controversy is troubling on many levels for industry leaders and clients alike.

 

Running ads in limited placement solely to make them eligible for awards is a well-known tactic that, in the modern advertising world at least, is generally seen as unethical and self-serving.

 

"Agencies should treat the awards show with integrity," Y&R global CEO David Sable told Adweek today when asked about the issue. "The truth of the matter is that every (agency) network has suffered at one time or another from this. There was a period of time when there were a lot of scam ads across all the networks. They didn't view them as scam ads, because their view was that creativity was still creativity, a great idea is a great idea."

 

The president of this year's Outdoor jury is Ricardo John, chief creative officer at J. Walter Thompson Brazil. Adweek reached out to John and asked why the Outdoor judges awarded this ad a Lion, and whether they thought it was provocative.

 

"We were very careful to remove any ad or campaign that was interpreted as sexist," John told Adweek in a statement. "The jury, which [included] seven women, did not feel that this campaign, when looked at as a whole, was offensive. Even so, as the jury president, I would like to apologize for those who took it as such."

Pharma Guy's insight:

I always said the Lions Health awards were BS. But not even I caught the sexism nor did I realize how such awards are manipulated by "creative" agencies for their own benefit! So much for advancing the cause of the drug industry through advertising!

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▶ Fishy #Pharma Ad Campaign Is Contender for Grand Prix Award at Cannes Lions Health

According to MM&M, about 80 entries were shortlisted in the pharma category at Lions Health creativity festival, including 19 entries from US agencies.


The awards will be announced later today at the second annual Lions Health, a two-day event that kicks off today in advance of the Cannes Lions festival. 


DigitasLBI in New York is only US agency to have three entries shortlisted for AstraZeneca's disease-education campaign “Take it from a Fish,” which includes integrated digital campaign, digital and direct and promotional and activation. AstraZeneca received FDA approval last year for Epanova, a prescription fish-oil pill.

Pharma Guy's insight:


Yikes! Is this the height of pharma advertising creativity?


Agencies are closely watching the pharma category after last year's jury declined to award a Grand Prix, the event's top prize, to a pharma entry. However,  a Fictional Patient Story Won Gold, Whereas Authentic Patient Story Won Only Bronze at Lions Health 2014.

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