This November, Havas Health & You hosted its first &YOU UNLEASHED events, a new series of companywide virtual and live programming run in partnership with Cannes Lions to inspire creativity and innovation in every facet of our business.
Dare! spoke with HH&Y Chief Creative Officer Eric Weisberg about the event, his experience at Havas so far, and his personal philosophy on creativity.
The first installment of &YOU UNLEASHED happened earlier this week – what was that experience like for you and what were your key takeaways?
There are two main reasons why we did this partnership with Cannes. One, right now is what I believe is going to be the Golden Age for health and wellness communications. It is the last vertical that exists in my point of view that has not had a consumer first transformation – we’ve seen this happen in nearly everything from travel to CPG. I believe there are three things that will drive that – creativity, digital transformation and innovation. The second reason for doing this is more personal: I believe Havas Health & You is an incredibly successful network that has been built at its core on client service and operational excellence, and there are pockets of amazing work that exist across our network. With Cannes, the goal is to unleash the next wave of creativity and innovation.
How does this programme ladder into your goals as the global CCO, and what are those goals?
My core belief system is that creativity is good business. It is not a nice to have it, it is a need to have, and I think in nearly every other industry creativity and innovation is the core of what’s successful. In health and wellness, creativity has often taken the back seat, and I think the future is that creativity is going to be front and centre and our work is going to sit at the intersection of art and science, and that is going to be our superpower as a network.
Why are you passionate about health communications, and what sparked your interest in the field?
Health and wellness has been part of what I’ve done for the last 20 years – to choose a career in any part of health and wellness these days is to believe that it has purpose for your own personal health, your family’s health, and your community’s health. Health and wellness is driving the economy and the conversation is intoxicating because as the world’s largest health and wellness company, we have both the power and the responsibility to have a unique impact on the global health condition.
How do you see health communications changing in the next 5 years?
If I had a crystal ball for that! I think one thing that remains true is humans connect to each other through story – that’s the way humans have connected for thousands of years – but brands are now shifting from storytelling to story starting. That’s already here, but I wouldn’t say fully embraced by brands. I think they’ll start to feel more comfortable with participatory storytelling.
What is your personal philosophy on creativity, and how does that inform how you approach your work?
I think I have a strong philosophy about what the future of creativity looks like in the context of modern marketing, which is that the future of creativity comes in two parts. One part is that it is the combination of content, culture and code that makes work successful. We don’t live in a binary world now where we have to choose between a creative agency that’s going to push content or a PR agency that’s going to push culture or a digital transformation or media agency which is going to push code. It is the combination of those and turning those dials that make a campaign successful. On the other hand, one more word probably sums it up – participation. Creativity heretofore was something that we looked at and appreciated. Now, it’s how we interact with every bit of content that we get in the world. Creativity for brands is about breaking through that and helping change behaviours.
What excites you about working at Havas?
If I think about why Havas versus somewhere else, I think the problems that need to be tackled in health, particularly access and knowledge, are more profound now than ever before and require the muscle of an organisation our size. If we were just a handful of smart people or 150 smart people here and 200 smart people are, I don’t think we are going to have the profound impact that’s required. I think the power of 5000 people in nearly every place on the Earth, working together with one mission is a unique power of ours.
Is there anything we haven’t asked you that you’d like to mention or highlight?
In the world of health and wellness we have heretofore made hundreds or thousands of excuses why we weren’t leading the industry in creativity, innovation and digital transformation. I believe we are in a moment where we need to set those excuses aside – put aside the old rules, old excuses, all the reasons not to lead the industry. And if there’s one thing I hope comes out of the &YOU UNLEASHED event, it’s connecting with people out there who have put the excuses aside and are doing things that excite the hell out of people.