ExL's 6th Annual KOL and Advisory Boards Summit
ExL's 6th Annual KOL and Advisory Boards Summit | June 8-9, 2015 | Philadelphia, PA

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pharma Advertising is So Bad It Has No Big Winner at Cannes Lions Health 2014

Cannes Lions Health 2014 was a new two-day "festival of creativity" in healthcare communications, actually more of a contest among healthcare and pharma advertising agencies vying for awards and honors meted out by their peers.

"Made by advertising agencies and for advertising agencies, Lions Health could not find a grand prix winner in Cannes this year," noted Piotr Wrzosiński, Digital Marketing - Informatics Project Manager at Roche and author of K-Message.

"Does it prove lack of creativity, or rather that the whole concept of advertising in the healthcare industry is wrong?," asks Wrzosiński (here).

Perhaps it's an inferiority complex among healthcare advertisers that prevents them from thinking any of their best work is worthy of the "Grand Prix."

One Tweet made during the conference highlighted results from a survey that asked "Why Would You Consider a Job in Healthcare Advertising." I'm not sure who did this survey or who the respondents were, but it appears that no one chose "Doing Killer Creative" as a reason and "No Other Option" was the most often cited reason (see slide below).


Nevertheless, a sentiment frequently expressed in Twitter posts by attendees was "we get to do great work and save lives. That matters." This was a tweet made by an agency I shall not name. The header image for this agency's Twitter account is very telling in light of this statement (see image below).


This agency decided that its creative for soft drinks and fried chicken is worth displaying as the header of its Twitter account and NOT any healthcare/pharma ad creative. I wonder how the guys in charge of healthcare advertising in this agency feel about this. A little inferior? I bet they are!

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