Havas Health Plus’s President and Chief Creative Officer Allison Ceraso is taking Cannes Lions by storm this year – not only did she participate in Havas Health & You’s recruitment luncheon as a speaker, she’s also delivering a session at the Palais today about inclusivity in human-centered design. We’re honored to have her in Cannes this year – hear about her session and her perspective on why creativity in health is so important below.
Happy Cannes! What are you most excited for about the festival?
I’m most excited for the energy upon our return after the challenge of these last two years. After two years of mostly virtual interaction, being able to physically attend the lectures and have real social networking and live conversations will be wonderful. I’m looking forward to seeing many of my global Havas colleagues again, as well as meet the makers of the best work in the world. Inspiration will be everywhere, and I look forward to taking it all home with me to share with everyone at Havas Health Plus.
You’re presenting at the Palais this year – can you tell us a bit about your panel?
It’s a topic that is both relevant and important to us all: how to open our minds to the process of co-design with a focus on a more collaborative way of working to ensure we practice inclusivity, not just preach it. I have with me 2 colleagues from Georgia Tech University in Atlanta, which right now is a global hot spot as far as the study of cognition. Their work in Alzheimer’s Disease explores therapies in our homes, proving to be a great example of human centered design and why we must include more participation of users in creation and ideation.
Why are you passionate about the work you do?
I never thought I would get into the health field, but after 20 years I’ve come to not just love it, but be grateful to be a part of it. The brands we work on, and the work we do, has a real impact on the lives of people who need help and support. In the space of health and pharma, our end user doesn’t always want to be using our products: they have to be, for the sake of their health. For us to build meaningful relationships with our customers might be the hardest thing to do in advertising, but when we do it, we change lives and help people be better, and live better. Health and wellness is the one thing we all aspire to have, despite our differences – so for us to be a part of this movement at this moment in time is an honor.
Can you talk a bit about the intersection between creativity and health? Why is creativity important to incorporate in health campaigns?
It’s so easy to look at products and services and think only of functionality, but to build relationships we have to dig deeper. Empathy might be the most important aspect of what we do – and to find ways to reach hearts and minds with our customers requires looking at things from a different vantage point. Creativity isn’t just a practice, it’s a mindset. It allows for the freedom to look at things differently and explore divergent thinking. It’s so important for us to consider inclusivity and empathy in our work to ensure we reach more people who need our help.
What’s one key takeaway you’d want people to learn from your session?
Challenge the imbalance of power. As makers, we are conditioned to make for ourselves. To embrace an inclusive mindset in any of the content and experiences we make, not only must we solve for one, and extend to many; we must do it with an eye towards empathy and a truly selfless approach.