Our Voices

CANNES 2022: TUGGING AT OUR HEARTSTRINGS

Senior Writer and Editor
Hannah Lindley joined Havas Group in October 2021 as a Senior Writer and Editor. She has a background in corporate reputation management, journalism, and creative writing.
The Cannes Lions Festival couldn’t exist without the people that make winning campaigns possible – its jurors! We sat down with one of several of our talented Havas team members to learn more about the judging process and the unique perspective they bring to this undertaking.
Paul Kinsella, Chief Creative Officer of Havas Lynx Group, will help judge the Pharma category – hear more from him below!

What’s the best campaign you’ve seen this year?

There have actually been two campaigns that have really struck a chord with me on a human level.

Firstly, Letters for a Law, which proves that the power of simplicity can elevate a product demonstration into something so much more. For people living with Parkinson’s, the legalisation of marijuana can be life changing, and this piece of work shows exactly why.  

The campaign challenges Chile’s stance on medical marijuana in order to help people living with Parkinson’s disease. It simply gets the patients to write two separate letters – one without the medication, and one with. The results speak for themselves. The whole process is filmed and shared on social media and demands the attention of the political authorities. I’m lucky enough to work with Matt Eagles who’s our head of patient voice – he’s being living with Parkinson’s since he was a boy and is a huge inspiration to me, (and everyone he meets) and I can’t wait to share this simple but powerful idea with him.

Secondly, I Will Always Be Me. This reminded me why I come to work – creativity and innovative thinking can change lives. In complete comparison to the first piece, this is a much more complex execution. Using state of the art technology and a New York Times bestselling author, I Will Always Be Me gives patients with MND their voice back, forever. It simplifies the process of voice banking, reducing production time from 3 months to just half an hour. For patients with a terminal disease this is priceless and that is worth talking about in the jury room.

Both pieces are different in many ways but are ultimately driven by a powerful human purpose.  

What specific elements will you be looking for in the winning campaigns in your category?

That instant feeling of I wish I’d done that! There’s no better feeling of seeing work you instantly admire or maybe, if I’m slightly more honest, you’re instantly jealous of. 

Of course, I will be looking for original thought, big ideas and beautiful craft.

But the most important thing that I’m looking out for is work that pushes the pharma industry forward creatively. Work that makes a meaningful difference to patients’ lives and work that changes the world for the better.

“The most important thing that I’m looking out for is work that pushes the pharma industry forward creatively. Work that makes a meaningful difference to patients’ lives and work that changes the world for the better.”

Sustainability is more of a global priority than ever. Will a focus on this be a deciding factor in your judging this year? 

As much as I love the planet and want to pass our home to the next generation better than we found it, sustainability won’t be a major deciding factor in my judging this year. 

The reason is very simple. I’m judging pharma and I want to protect our work and our industry as much as I want to protect the planet. And to do this I have to ask a very simple question. Is this work pharma, or is it wellness? 

There are more complicated questions too, what is the main job of advertising? To sell products and build brands for our clients or to solve social and environmental issues? This is a grey area for me and one that doesn’t have a straight answer – but where we can push the agenda of sustainability in health we should, and we will. And if you have the gift of creativity, you should use it for good. But the Ad lands creative departments can’t do this alone, we need governments, media, entertainment, everyone with a voice or a platform to get behind it too.

There have been some great pieces of work that have done both sustainability and health successfully in the pharma categories this year, good on them and it has been a pleasure to see and judge them.

We need to push the work in pharma to look at ways to help protect the planet, but I feel consumer and wellness have more opportunity to work in this area and let’s applaud them for doing so. It’s important work, we need to look after the health of the planet, but as a judge of pharma my lens is on the health of the people that live on it. 

What individual perspective do you feel you bring to the judging process?

I feel I have an unbiased passion for our industry – I just want to see and celebrate great work.

I think we are incredibly lucky to work in a creative industry – but even more so, in one that can save lives. I feel strongly that creativity can be used as a preventive medicine, to educate and change behaviours or beliefs that ultimately change and improve people’s lives.

This year, to me is one of the most important years in health at Cannes. We have all globally been through a lot of change due to COVID-19. (I’m bored of hearing this too – but stick with me) but the way the world responded, the way science responded, and the way Pharma responded has put our industry in the spotlight. Pharma brands have become household names and every brand wants to be a health brand. We are all more aware of our health and wellness and if the internet created the information age, I truly believe COVID-19 and scientific developments have put us on the dawn of a new era – the Health Age. This is our time – we need to push the boundaries creatively, embrace technology and innovation, and help shape an even more creative future in health.

What are some of the trends that you feel are dominating at Cannes this year?

Year on year we see the trends of great craft, purpose driven work, empathy, and authenticity and rightly so. But there’s a few new trends that stood out to me this year and I’m not going to talk about the obvious one – loads of COVID work!

It pleases me to see one of the biggest trends is using creativity to lobby for change. Giving communities a voice so they can successfully challenge authorities for the help they deserve.  

Another trend I started to notice was longer format media, although this made judging a lot harder it was pleasing to see that even the way we tell stories, the media we use, and the attention of our audiences (and judges) can be pushed and challenged.  

The final trend I noticed, I touched on before, which is a link between environmental issues, climate change and sustainability to the impact on health. Again, an important issue and trend I can get onboard with.  This work is so important and if done in partnerships with our clients can change the health of the world and the people who live on it for the better.

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