Phar­ma ad­ver­tis­ing has long been con­sid­ered sec­ond-tier when com­pared to the rest of the ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try. And there are some le­git­i­mate rea­sons why. Nike sneak­ers and Co­ca-Co­la so­da ads will like­ly al­ways be additional en­ter­tain­ing or ex­cit­ing than reg­u­lat­ed cam­paigns for di­a­betes and heart dis­ease.

Even now, the Cannes Li­ons ad­ver­tis­ing fes­ti­val of cre­ativ­i­ty was phar­ma and health­care ad­ver­tis­ing’s an­nu­al possibility to glow. For the earlier eight years, phar­ma agen­cies and shoppers stood facet by aspect with con­sumer com­pa­nies and agency hot­shots on the most important ad­ver­tis­ing award stage in the planet at the Palais in Cannes, France.

How­ev­er, some­thing modified this yr. While the awards for phar­ma and wellbeing and well­ness have been hand­ed out to wide­spread ap­plause on the first night time of the show, for considerably of the rest of the time, health­care mar­ket­ing was rel­e­gat­ed to the again of the area and most­ly off the main levels.

The phar­ma and well being and well­ness cat­e­go­ry award fi­nal­ists, for in­stance, were being tucked in the back cor­ner of the base­ment of the most important build­ing. Even peo­ple who want­ed to see the operate com­plained that they had to look for for them. On­ly three Cannes Li­ons of­fi­cial ses­sions this calendar year cov­ered health and fitness or phar­ma ad­ver­tis­ing top­ics and ended up most­ly gen­er­al top­ics about cre­ativ­i­ty, di­ver­si­ty or em­pa­thy.

There were being no phar­ma and wellbeing circumstance research dis­sec­tions or deep dives in­to the special chal­lenges in wellbeing and phar­ma ad­ver­tis­ing — and, probably a lot more im­por­tant­ly for the in­dus­try, there were no phar­ma ex­ec­u­tives on the Cannes stages as they have been in the previous. Pa­tri­cia Cor­si was the lone phar­ma-con­nect­ed ex­ec­u­tive she is the chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer of Bay­er Con­sumer Wellness and served as both equally a speak­er and overall health and well­ness ju­ry pres­i­dent.

Pa­tri­cia Cor­si speaks on a judge’s pan­el (Clara Bui/End­points News)

Simply click on the im­age to see the full-sized ver­sion

Even between this year’s health and fitness and well­ness award win­ners, no gold prizes went to phar­ma com­pa­nies. Un­ex­pect­ed win­ners like Heineken and Harley David­son did, how­ev­er, get property the gold for their re­spec­tive vac­ci­na­tion and “Tough Tur­ban” cam­paigns.

There are two schools of imagined about the dis­ap­pear­ance of Cannes Li­ons Wellbeing as an of­fi­cial pro­grammed keep track of. On a person hand, it sig­ni­fies the par­i­ty of the in­dus­try with huge con­sumer models, but on the oth­er hand, it al­so intended few­er con­ver­sa­tions, significantly less net­work­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and an over­all dim­ming of the in­dus­tries’ pres­ences at Cannes Li­ons.

Loaded Levy

“I would be ly­ing if I did not say that I was dis­ap­point­ed so far,” reported Loaded Levy, chief cre­ative of­fi­cer of Klick Wellness on the very first working day of the demonstrate. “When you are talk­ing about a multi­bil­lion dol­lar in­dus­try in the US, I considered that 31 shorter checklist for phar­ma was re­mark­ably little … I really don’t feel it’s an ac­cu­rate check out of the work that the in­dus­try is do­ing.”

Phar­ma and health and fitness and well­ness en­tries each were way down this 12 months. To­tal phar­ma en­tries dropped to 298, down from 509 final yr with 11 to­tal Li­on awards giv­en out. In wellness and well­ness, there were being 1,213 en­tries, down from 1,300 past yr. There had been Grand Prix awards giv­en in both of those cat­e­gories, but this was the to start with yr it was re­quired — in the previous, judges could pass around a cat­e­go­ry for the major award if they imagined it did not rise to the lev­el of Grand Prix.

For the sec­ond calendar year in a row, the Grand Prix in the phar­ma cat­e­go­ry went to a non-phar­ma com­pa­ny. Dell Tech­nolo­gies and In­tel snagged the prime prize for their voice application for peo­ple with mo­tor neu­ron dis­ease. The en­try — cre­at­ed by VM­LY&R New York and termed “I Will Al­ways Be Me” — aids peo­ple with MND financial institution a dig­i­tal duplicate of their voice by read­ing a sto­ry e-book.

In the well being and well­ness cat­e­go­ry, Maxx Flash’s mos­qui­to re­pel­lent cam­paign “The Killer Pack” took the top rated prize. The re­pel­lent is de­signed to ad­dress In­dia’s mos­qui­to prob­lem, with a biodegrad­able pack­ag­ing that kills mos­qui­toes out­side although a non­tox­ic coil fights them in­side.

Oth­er wellness cre­atives and ex­ec­u­tives agreed with Levy’s award as­sess­ment, but al­so ex­pressed con­cern about the lim­it­ed health and fitness con­tent. The health and fitness and phar­ma pan­els and award deep dives that ended up pre­sent­ed obtained sol­id re­views, but there ended up scant few in the of­fi­cial pro­gram, together with a hand­ful of un­of­fi­cial ones out­side the key venues.

Sev­er­al overall health agency net­works established up off-web site slates of health­care and phar­ma pro­gram­ming — WPP Health and IPG Overall health equally of­fered mul­ti­ple pan­els and dis­cus­sions at their own web pages. CMI Me­dia Group host­ed a pan­el at the Pan­do­ra Seashore pavil­ion on au­dio brand­ing, though oth­er company cre­atives like Levy and Bernar­do Romero, along with Ogilvy Health’s Adam Hes­sel and each pan­els of judges for phar­ma and overall health and well­ness, at­tend­ed ses­sions and net­worked with oth­ers in the well being com­mu­ni­ty.

Even now, there just weren’t as several health and phar­ma peo­ple on the ground as there typ­i­cal­ly have been in the previous as agen­cies cut back ros­ters of at­ten­dees and did not in­vite as a lot of consumers. That’s like­ly in section owing to the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic re­cov­ery year of Cannes Li­ons this 12 months as nicely as bud­get con­sid­er­a­tions in gen­er­al.

Dana Maiman

Dana Maiman, CEO of IPG Well being and a lengthy-time Cannes Li­ons at­tendee mentioned, “I’m hop­ing the changes hon­est­ly are just tem­po­rary. Be­cause I re­mem­ber when I very first start­ed com­ing here — I imagine this may perhaps be my 10th one particular or so — but again then it was con­sol­i­dat­ed. It was re­al­ly lib­er­at­ing when it was fo­cused and bro­ken out, even while clear­ly there is a large amount of crossovers and all of that. But I imagine there is some­thing pretty spe­cial about cel­e­brat­ing the cre­ativ­i­ty in our environment be­cause we can all agree it is more chal­leng­ing.”

Hes­sel, chief cre­ative of­fi­cer at Ogilvy Wellbeing, claimed one rea­son for few­er en­tries was heav­ier cu­ra­tion down to just a couple of this year, but extra that no mat­ter the num­bers, Cannes and oth­er mar­ket­ing award shows still are im­por­tant for the in­dus­try.

“Just cel­e­brat­ing good do the job in any cat­e­go­ry is what the in­dus­try re­al­ly requirements and al­so it’s possible to pull again a bit — every­body’s look­ing for that a single crown jew­el, but there’s so much great function out there that ought to be cel­e­brat­ed,” he reported, including, “When purchasers see good function, they want that also, so that is the bar.”

Cor­si, mean­while, mentioned she would like to see a lot more cre­ativ­i­ty from phar­ma mar­keters. She finds that cre­atives in the phar­ma in­dus­try are of­ten properly trained to be far more con­ser­v­a­tive, be­cause if you cross the line, you facial area reg­u­la­tors — but she would like that to adjust.

“We re­al­ly be­lieve that there is a excellent op­por­tu­ni­ty for us to elevate the bar in this cat­e­go­ry,” she mentioned. “Work in wellness and well­ness con­sis­tent­ly across the yrs has not been the most in­spir­ing.”

That doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly necessarily mean the work should really be much more com­pli­cat­ed. Ac­cord­ing to Cor­si, some­times the sim­plest notion is the most effective. What she wants to see, even though, is far more out­side-the-box think­ing.

A hand­ful of ex­ecs, in­clud­ing Cor­si, not­ed that the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic has served as a wake-up call for phar­ma com­pa­nies dis­cov­er­ing what their purpose need to be with pa­tients. Phar­ma ad­ver­tis­ing is be­com­ing extra of a con­ver­sa­tion as op­posed to a a single-off en­counter, Cor­si said. Even com­pa­nies like Wal­greens — which fa­cil­i­tat­ed the vac­ci­na­tion of far more than 30 mil­lion Amer­i­cans — are tak­ing a new ap­proach to ad­ver­tis­ing.

Mel Routhi­er

“The pan­dem­ic, there is no go­ing back. You cannot un­hear the bell, proper? The bell’s been rung,” said Mel Routhi­er, main cre­ative of­fi­cer of the WPP Wal­greens group. “It’s a very good factor for us to consider inventory and say we can have additional pur­pose as a brand.”

A person detail that has not adjusted this yr? The lev­el of pas­sion that phar­ma cre­atives are bring­ing to the con­fer­ence.

Gena Pem­ber­ton

“What I’m tak­ing away now, that I guess it’s possible I did not re­al­ly ex­pect, is how considerably pas­sion peo­ple have in the operate that they are do­ing,” said initially-time at­tendee Gena Pem­ber­ton, Om­ni­com Health Group’s main di­ver­si­ty, eq­ui­ty and in­clu­sion of­fi­cer. “[It’s] re­al­ly im­pact­ful to be capable to converse with peo­ple in dif­fer­ent ar­eas, un­der­stand a lit­tle little bit a lot more about the perform they’ve done, and just see­ing how ex­cit­ed every­body is to be to­geth­er all over again.”

In the close, the ques­tions re­main. Does Cannes Li­ons need to have a sep­a­rate phar­ma and health keep track of? Or vice ver­sa, does phar­ma and health­care ad­ver­tis­ing have to have that spot­light at Cannes? The de­bate won’t be eas­i­ly set­tled.

Franklin Williams, di­rec­tor of ex­pe­ri­ence de­sign at Place 23 and a phar­ma choose, reported, “It doesn’t re­al­ly mat­ter who’s do­ing the get the job done as prolonged as the tar­gets are be­ing strike. So I think which is what you are start­ing to see al­most as a craze and a topic. It doesn’t have to be, we did phar­ma be­cause we’re phar­ma. We did phar­ma be­cause we want­ed to do excellent.”

The dan­ger, of study course, is that with­out broad­er in­clu­sion, spe­cif­ic con­tent and much more awards, phar­ma may possibly reduce in­ter­est in Cannes.

“It be­comes a self-ful­fill­ing prophe­cy. And what I necessarily mean by that is few­er win­ners each and every calendar year necessarily mean few­er en­tries the fol­low­ing calendar year. And few­er en­tries signify few­er win­ners,” Levy mentioned.

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