Lions Health 2017 Recap
By George Giunta
VP, Creative Director
Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide,
part of WPP Health & Wellness
My trip to the 2017 Cannes
Lion Festival for Creativity
was full of so many amazing moments, but there
were two things that stood
out for me. The first was a
talk by Michael Massimi-no, a NASA astronaut also
known as Astro Mike. The
second was a presentation
by Bjarke Ingles, world-re-nowned architect. I liked
that these two very different people had one common
thread, space. One was in the outer limits of it, and the
other was working with the challenges of it every day.
Each one of them left me with a soundbite that has been
playing in my head ever since I came home.
Astro Mike is about my age and like me was born
in Long Island to an Italian family; I immediately felt
a connection with him. While I went on to pursue my
childhood dream of becoming an artist, Mike pursued
his childhood dream of becoming an astronaut. He
even showed us a picture of himself with his Astronaut
Snoopy doll, the same doll my brother slept with every
night in the bunk above me. Mike went to Columbia to
become an engineer, and furthered his education, ultimately earning a doctorate from MIT, all with an eye on
becoming an astronaut one day.
Mike’s story was focused on his long journey to becoming an astronaut, and the trials and tribulations he
experienced along the way. What I remembered most
about Mike’s talk was something his friend told him
after the second or third rejection letter from NASA.
Mike was wondering what all his hard work was for,
and if he would ever reach his goal. He contemplated
whether it was all worth it. His friend told him to “only
hold your regrets for 30 seconds,” then move on. Mike’s
first reaction was “that’s not possible,” but his friend’s
suggestion stuck with him. After a long weekend, Mike
was able to let go and he started focusing on the road
ahead, and it changed his life. He said the 30-second
part was not too realistic for him although he did re-
alize that the power of moving on would get him to his
goal. It was a wonderful message for me to take away,
for I too have been faced with many bumps and bruises
on my journey in the arts.
The second presentation that deeply affected me was
from Bjarke Ingles, an architect I was first exposed to on
the Netflix series Abstract. I was so excited to see him
speak that I think I elbowed Scott Watson in the ribs
as he sat in the seat next to me. Bjarke talked about his
process and his company’s philosophy of mixing great
design with sustainability. This guy is more of a rock
star than an architect: his clients love him, he is literally
changing the landscape of the world, and his critics love
to rip him apart. It doesn’t help that his company web
address is www.big.dk.
At one point he was in the middle of talking about inspiration, when he stopped himself and said, “we don’t
look for inspiration, we just put our heads down and
work.” Bjarke believes great work is accomplished by
doing just that, working. It was reassuring to hear this
from him because I often come across people who are
not connected to the creative process and think we pull
ideas out of the air willy-nilly—there is so much more to
what we do than that. Great creativity is about putting
your nose to the grindstone and working your ass off
for years. The process is much more visceral than most
people realize. With each creative exercise we complete,
we further develop the muscles it takes to build intuition, passion, and sound decision making. Bjarke’s accomplishments at such a young age give a clear example
of the benefits of hard work, and what it takes to be a
passionate, successful creative.
By Elliot Langerman
Chief Creative O;cer, New York,
Cannes Lions is always
hard on me, spiritually.
I can already smell your
objections through the
screen. So, let’s first dispel
with the obvious. Yes, it’s
the South of France. Yes,
it’s rosé and corporate expense accounts, and yes,
But it is also brutal.
Not in the existential
crisis way that seems to accompany the show every year
and especially this year. See: Sadoun’s announcement;
the “this isn’t real advertising” crowd gaining in volume
and volume; and an even greater-than-usual number of
self-published-on-Medium, the-show-has-gotten-too-big, think pieces.
Or even in the “Boy, I need to exercise greater self
control at the bar when traveling with current- and
would-be colleagues” way. Although, maybe.
No, for me, the anxiety isn’t existential. It’s Manichean.
On the one, it is a moment of brilliant optimism and
Just look at what is possible! At the breathtaking ambition, ingenuity, and impact of the work! New products spanning the tech spectrum (beads! VR!) that literally will save someone’s (or lots of someone’s) life!
Print so beautiful that it transcends advertising and
has become art. Stories so richly realized and emerging
from such a deep-spouted human truth that tears are
inevitable. And of course, damn, they convinced the
client to go that way!
A second look at it all and I am intensely humbled.
Defeated. It’s all so… good. So then I am jealous. And
with a little more time for stewing and perhaps some of
the aforementioned rosé, even a little angry. All of this
work… so much of it from other agencies and people.
Sure, I’m happy for them. I’d be happier were it me.
As a clinically competitive person (so revealed to
me at a therapists appointment in the 2nd grade… my
mother, she meant well), I can get a little mixed up and
it can be tough to swallow.
So, yes, it is hard.
But never because I question its value or “rightness”
or what it all means.
The only thing it makes me question is myself.
Only at Cannes does it all glom together in one place
to deliver a massive, thunderous brain-and-heart
punch of made of equal measures “Anything is possi-
ble!” and “Shit, I need to work harder and smarter and
relentlessly pursue inspiration and productivity or oth-
erwise see my fragile self-conception crumble and be
revealed as a fraud.”
And thus it is essential.
I’d wager I’m not the only one for which this is true.
Because without the mad desperation that comes
from it, the rivals and community to spur us on, a shared
love for what we do, the inspiration-by-example to do
better, the undeniable brilliance of others to see that
there is better … (deep breath) … without others fighting the same fights, and incontrovertible evidence of the
power of either too-brave-or-too-stupid (but who cares
which) thinking to know that the impossible-isn’t-im-possible … (another deep breath) … then we’re all just
working in banking.
Or somewhere in mid-flight between the bridge and
Viva la Cannes.
Winning at Cannes Isn’t Easy.
It’s Not Impossible Either.
By Rich Levy
Amid the whirlwind that
was last month’s Cannes
Lions Health festival,
three industry insights
truly resonated. The first
two statistics are interrelated: non-healthcare
agencies account for 80%
of entries and 90% of wins
for Pharma and Health &
Wellness. The third number, announced during
the ceremony itself, is that only 1.7% of total entries
win a Bronze Lion. That number gets incrementally
smaller for Silver and Gold Lion wins. The competition
is the finest in the world. The judging leaves nothing
to chance. Any way you look at it, winning a Lion at
Cannes is really hard.
Lions Health 2017 Takeaways
Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide
Leading healthcare and pharma
from around the globe convened
at the fourth annual Lions Health
festival on June 17-18 in Cannes,
France. Key trends and issues in
healthcare communications were
explored during “two days of life-changing creativity.” Following are
perspectives on various topics from
some of the industry experts who
attended this year’s event ...