We Meowed at Lions Health in Cannes

cannes meowCan you believe it’s been almost two months since the very first Lions Health at Cannes! I am actually kicking myself for not writing this sooner, but you know how it goes.

Overall, I thought the standard of work was high, and that’s what you would expect for this type of event. I wouldn’t say that there was a new standard set, but there were definitely new players—non-healthcare agencies that haven’t been bound by medical departments or the weight of the past.

Cannes Lions Health is putting healthcare advertising and communications on the world stage, and I think this is great, but the playing field has just gotten bigger. So us healthcare folk need to stretch ourselves even more and deliver ideas that aren’t a print ad, e-detail aid or a direct mail series. We need to look outside of this and step away from the pharmaceutical/health look, feel, taste and tradition.

I am proud to say Ogilvy CommonHealth Australia did just that with “Cat Ramps,” a little ambient idea that set out to raise awareness of cat osteoarthritis.

Instead of doing posters or an ad, we created a series of specially made ramps with website activation that were placed in Hyde Park Sydney on one day. Park visitors and city workers could interact with the ramps, activate the mobile website, learn about the disease and the signs to watch for, and potentially seek a management plan from their local vet.

The traffic to the website exceeded objectives threefold. Just under their monthly hits was achieved in one day.

Even though we only made it to Finalist, it was a big achievement given the 1,400 entries from 49 countries.

But the biggest achievement was getting this idea signed off and up and running.

So this little meow will hopefully turn into a big roar for Ogilvy CommonHealth Australia as we start our journey toward the next Lions Health in 2015.

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We Can Be Sexy Too

Toby Pickford thumbnailHello, is that Terry Savage, the chairman of the Lions Festivals?

This is Toby Pickford here, Creative Director of Ogilvy CommonHealth Sydney. How’s it going? I hear health has been added to the largest and most prestigious annual event celebrating creative advertising and communications. This is great news! Finally we can stand side-by-side with our mainstream counterparts; the wall of health will come down, and creativity can be celebrated as one, whether it’s selling Viagra or Volkswagen.

Sorry, what was that? We won’t be celebrating on the same day? Oh, so health is a completely separate awards event? We go first? OK, a bit like a warm-up act, right? 


This is totally the wrong way to think about this. I could look at it as our time. Our time to really show the world and the most awarded creatives and their agencies on the planet that we are an amazing bunch of talented people who can tackle some of the most difficult and challenging problems and turn them into compelling communications. And what’s more, change lives!

That’s cool. Now we can show them that health can be SEXY! Not just mainstream…

Yes, that’s the way I should look at this… OK, I feel better now, special is good, special is SEXY.

Right, it’s on. Us against the rest of the world. Ogilvy CommonHealth united, seen as the most creative healthcare network. I can see it now—Cannes, the palm trees, the beach…

But how do we get there? (By plane of course—very funny, Toby.) How do we create work that will be worthy of a LION?

I am going to start by setting some goals:

  1. Drive for more inspiring briefs.
  2. Be fearless and push clients to be fearless too.
  3. Stay tuned to creativity from outside of the pharmaceutical industry.
  4. Be surprising in everything we do—make originality the norm and not just for special occasions.

That sounds good. Right, I suppose I better let Terry Savage know that he needs to make the stage a bit bigger next year because Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide are coming to CANNES to make health SEXY.

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