by Michael O'Neill
June 18th, 2014

The first ever Lions Health took place last week at the famous Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France. Over 800 people from 50 countries gathered to share, judge and celebrate the life-changing creativity of the world’s best healthcare communications. In the first of two reports from Lions Health, we get an insiders view of the judging process from Laura Schoen, president of Global Healthcare, Weber Shandwick. 

Q. Why is it important for healthcare to have its own creative awards show?

To appreciate our work, a jury has to understand health and science.  Who else would get the value of the Gold Lion winner of 2014, an ad for MS?  It shows a woman brushing her teeth.  Holding the brush is another’s person hand.  The ad says  ‘The true cost of spasticity’.  Spasticity is a symptom that develops late in the course of multiple sclerosis (MS), causing muscle spasm, weakness and stiffness. Patients lose their independence and are forced to rely on family members and carers to accomplish basic tasks.  Nobody else, but healthcare professionals would understand the simplicity and effectiveness of that type of communication.

We work in a highly regulated environment.  It takes more creative power to be moving, funny, or engaging when you are surrounded by rules and restricted by the label of a pharmaceutical product.”

Q. How will a dedicated award show help elevate creativity and effectiveness in healthcare communications?

It inspires us.  We saw some of best practices in the industry.  It ignites new ideas, it energises us to do better.  We saw several entries and award winners that opened our minds to the possibilities of what creativity can accomplish with a very limited budget. 2014 was just the beginning. Lions Health has the opportunity to influence clients and agencies worldwide to do more because creativity in health communications is life-changing.

Q. What impressed you most about the entries you judged? 

The superb craft of the campaigns.  Healthcare communicators are producing very sophisticated films, documentaries, posters and exhibits.  There is no excuse to have low quality standards in our industry any longer.  I was also surprised by how many campaigns are using only digital channels.

See the winning campaigns here

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