Just a typical day in Pharmaland

I don’t know about you but the reason I come in to work every day in my Healthcare agency of choice is mostly to help small Mexican villages improve their language skills. It can be monotonous but it also can be more rewarding than it looks.

When I see their little faces light up with new words for their private parts it makes everything seem worth it.

Other days I can be found designing and manufacturing electronic limbs, which is all new to me but once you get the hang of the mechanics it all makes sense and there is quite a bit of creativity attached – if a little noisy.

But the other day, as we were trying to figure out how to improve the diet of a small jungle community by making aquatic creatures from wrought iron, an account guy came in the department with a tentative face, followed by our apologetic looking traffic manager.

“Olly” he said, “I have an urgent brief and the studio are all busy making UV reactive dolls”

“Okay” I said “let me take a look at it”

He was so grateful “You really saved my life” he spluttered “The client wants to empower women..and he needs an idea by monday…massive budget, posters TV, online, social”

“That’s the third empowering women brief we’ve had this month…you’d think they were all fully empowered by now” I said

A revolutionary veterinary product design to help vets empathise with pet owners

A revolutionary veterinary product design to help vets empathise with pet owners

“I know” he said with an expression that said but what you gonna do?

“But apparently” he continued  “there are parts of Gloucestershire where they’re still feeling a tiny bit timid.”

Then he actually said “But what you gonna do?” which seemed appropriate.

“Okay, I’ll take a look at it…but you owe me one” I said. You see, when you are a CD you have to take the dull briefs too and these bread and butter ‘women empowerment’ type clients make the real creative opportunities possible.

So there I was trying to sift through my bottom drawer of concepts (This girl can, This girl wants to, What women want etc) and my office door slid open. It was our MD Phil with a huge grin on his face. To be fair, he often has a grin on his face but this time I sensed something different in the air.

“Olly” he said, hardly containing his excitement.

“This is the big one”

“What is?” I half-whispered…(to increase the general sense of excitement)

“Phamaland Inc wants us to launch a fourth to market generic drug”

I clench my fist and punched the air.

“iPad detail aids, leave-pieces, objection handlers…the bloody lot”

What was the likelihood of a brief like that coming in to a healthcare agency in 2015?

I immediately marched in to the creative department. (A full three steps)

“Guys and girls stop all that 3D printing malarkey…this is serious”

The 3D printer drew to a halt.

“Once in a lifetime we get a brief like this”

Phil cut in excitedly “Pharmaland Inc want us to do a new detail aid for a fourth to market drug”

There was a collective gasp and a palpable licking of lips at the prospect.

“And an updated leave piece” I added “and if we play our cards right, the internal launch meeting materials”.

The smiles swept across their faces, everyone knew the implications.

Holding the brief aloft I said…”This is a our Lions Health Cannes Grand Prix next year guys….they literally won’t have seen anything like it!”

“Good luck” said Phil over his shoulder as he returned to writing a brief for some boring old wearable technology product “sometimes these kinds of briefs aren’t as easy as they look”.

Noooo shit.

 

 

 

 

 

A short guide to Lions Health (not a veterinary category)

The glorious month of June is upon us once more and sur la Croisette the Rose is being chilled, the pavements are being hosed down and the sea is reaching the correct temperature for midnight swims in soggy underwear.

Mentioning no names, ahem..

Dear reader, will you be joining the thirsty adfolk from around the healthcare world in Cannes this year?

If so, and this is your first time at Lions Health, here is my unofficial guide to the two or three days in the sun or darkened hell hole, depending if you are visiting or judging.

1. Firstly, getting from Nice Airport to Cannes: There are taxis at around 75-80 euros one way, and take about 40 minutes, during which you will wonder why your driver is taking you the ‘back way’. That’s because it isn’t the back way, it’s the front way and that’s what roads in South of France look like.

2. Some important new information. This year the awards are on the Friday night, which is preceded by an informal drinks. This ‘pre-lash’ theory, pioneered by British students in order to save money on alcohol when out on the town and thereby effectively precluding themselves from entering any establishment worth visiting, will hopefully add an air of raucous jeering and/or applause to the awards ceremony.

3. The actual awards gala party on the beach bash is still on the Saturday night. This has the benefit of winners not having to lug their ‘lions’ around all night. This is also bad news for winners who like to lug their awards around all night in the hope that people will notice them and be suitably impressed.

4. The seminars all happen in the Palais de Festival. It’s the big white building at one end of the Croisette. My rather obvious advice is to plan which talks you want to attend, it’s unlikely that every session will appeal but you never know. It is obligatory to not pay much attention to them and spend the entire time tweeting on your iPad about how much you are or are not enjoying the talk. The good news is that if you are feeling slightly peeky from the previous night’s Rose, the auditorium is rather nice and cool and with comfy seats so you can have a decent snooze. Make sure you have your iPad on your lap and no one will be able to tell you apart from the tweeters.

5. Just so as you know, whichever talk you choose to attend you will inevitably be a little ho-hum about and the one you didn’t fancy – well, let’s just say you will stand by helplessly as people stream out, gasping for breath at the wonderousness of the insight and the sheer dazzling genius of the inspirational talkers…claiming it was a life changing experience.

There is no way round this, it’s just cleverly planned that way.

6. A couple of sessions that caught my eye are these two. This first one should be interesting to see if they have the magic solution.

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Secondly, it seems Mr Perrot always likes to get a degree of Hollywood blood and guts in the McCANN sessions. Count me in.

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7. If you are in a big party, or you have colleagues from different worldwide offices you will spend most of the time asking ‘where’s everybody going’ or ‘what’s everybody doing tonight?’. The only thing you can guarantee is that the gutter bar will be the final destination before crashing at 3am.

8. The gutter bar isn’t actually called the gutter bar but it’s outside the Martinez and is essentially a small aluminium fronted cafe that has room for about 12 people. Don’t ask me why it has become synonymous with Cannes advertising festival, and particularly the London contingent, it just has and it’s the law to show up there. No buts.

9. If you are a judge, be prepared to not see any daylight for the entire time and then, rather ungraciously, be lambasted for the final decision on the awards by hundreds of disgruntled creatives. Although the honour of being asked is compensation enough for this.

10. Lastly, the ladies on the croisette, as you stagger back from the gutter bar at 3am, are not COOs asking if you want to buy a company.

Enjoy.