Last month, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity honored standout healthcare campaigns that broke through with bold, patient-centric vision. These life sciences leaders connected with and motivated audiences who needed to feel seen and supported. Take a look below at some of the winners and our behavioral-science lens on what makes them powerful.
The campaign: An animated video series captures the specific frustrations of patients with NTM lung disease. The video “Unbreakable” depicts a torn but lovable stuffed bunny who keeps winding up in repair shops for different objects before finally finding the toy-repair specialist they need. “Trapped” follows a coughing woman saddled with a cumbersome apparatus that slows her down, irritates her through numerous inconveniences, and wears her out.
Why it works: The campaign shows that it understands the real-life contexts of NTM lung disease patients. “Unbreakable” represents the frustrations of past experiences with doctors who couldn’t diagnose or treat them correctly. And by following a patient from her home, through the streets, and to her place of work, “Trapped” puts its finger on some of the difficulties of managing the disease’s symptoms in different real-world contexts.
The campaign: “Bloodless Battle” is a live-streaming e-sports competition on the gaming platform Twitch that raised awareness for people with hemophilia. The competition alternated between game play and informative conversation, featuring a prize pool of $50,000.
Why it works: The game meets people where they are: The engaging storylines of streaming gaming have a larger audience than Hulu, HBO, Netflix, and ESPN combined. Many people with hemophilia are devoted gamers, and this was an educational opportunity in a context and enmeshed in an event that they already wanted to be part of.
The campaign: “Say Lists” recognized that traditional speech therapy, which works through repetition, was so unengaging for many people that they found themselves unable to stick with it. So, Warner Music identified popular songs with the highest therapeutic value, those with lyrics that repeated sounds that are stumbling blocks for people with certain speech impediments. They created playlists of these songs, available on Apple Music, that encourage listeners to sing along and thereby practice their speech enjoyably.
Why it works: Say Lists gives people the chance to engage in speech therapy not only in the regular context of their everyday lives, but also through doing something, listening to music, that they enjoy anyway.
The campaign: The “Slow Turkey” campaign for Pfizer’s smoking-cessation drug Chantix first shows a turkey venturing out into the cold—a cold turkey, if you will—who immediately heads back inside because it’s just too rough out there. The turkey then emerges once more, this time more cautiously and rocking outerwear appropriate for the freeze. The slow turkey is able to persevere.
Why it works: The campaign recognizes that, as human beings, we lose motivation quickly. In fact, 95% of smokers who try to quit cold turkey are unsuccessful. Chantix was able to see and speak to the difficulty of resilience when it comes to smoking cessation and offer the motivation people need to try and try again.
The campaign: In an animated video that gives you Pixar vibes, an older man is at the park with his granddaughter when he starts hobbling with severe chest pains. Viewers follow him to the cardiologist and ultimately the operating room, where Edwards’ AVR therapy Inspiris Resilia teams up with a mustering of storks to carry him back to his family and the life he loves. Why storks? The point is to “help your AVR patients feel reborn.”
Why it works: The moving video understands the particular emotional aspirations of people with AVR. It’s about more than the terrible symptoms and wanting to feel better. It’s about the life they’re missing out on—and getting a second chance.
Johnson & Johnson
The campaign: Kintsugi is a Japanese art form in which broken pottery is repaired, with the lines of the damage not minimized but highlighted with gold, silver, or platinum. J&J’s EMEA used this art to share real stories of patients with major depressive disorder, showing that “We are never beyond repair.” The stories and photographs are all brought together on www.breakingdepression.eu.
Why it works: The project offers validation to people who feel alone on their mental health journeys. It makes people feel connected to others like them who have had to fight to get better. The stories show that their struggles, shared by so many, are valid, and the imagery shows that their scars, too, are valid—and beautiful.