Live from Cannes Lions Health: From the shortlist to the big stage, six stand-out campaigns and creative acts won Gold Lions and Grand Prix prizes at this week’s festival. 

The two Grand Prix winners included the first pharma win in three years. That prize went to GSK for seamlessly merging cutting-edge technology and traditional art to connect with a lost generation. 

Breath of Life is a COPD test in the ubiquitous Chinese messaging platform WeChat. Developing a works-anywhere test was critical in China because must people with COPD in that country are undiagnosed. In fact fewer than 1:3 sufferers are even aware of the disease.

Taking the Breath of Life test just requires a mobile phone. The user breathes into the microphone and the volume of breath creates a soundwave, represented by a beautifully illustrated tree. If the breath volume is less than 70% of normal / healthy, the user receives a recommendation to see a physician. The team behind the clever tool included the unlikely duo of a pulmonologist and a popular Chinese blowing-ink artist. The image of the tree was included in part to earn social media sharing that might encourage even more people to take the test. 

The Health and Wellness Grand Prix was awarded to IKEA for ThisAbles. It’s goal: democratize design. It was one of the many winners this year that showed bold moves into a new era of inclusion.

The program was inspired by the millions of people around the world who live with serious physical disabilities and struggle with basic home activities, from turning on a lamp to sitting down comfortably on a sofa. IKEA wanted to make it easier for everyone to live comfortably. So, partnered with two of Israel’s biggest accessibility organizations, it created ThisAbles, a line of 3D-printed add-ons that solve different accessibility challenges and can be easily installed on IKEA furniture. The add-ons can be printed in store or anywhere in the world.

Golds Lions went to a powerful film that brought a difficult health challenge to life, an ingenuous tool that helps families read and sign together, a big bold discussion of vulvas, and, well, a new place for puppies to pee.

The Constant Therapy app re-teaches the brain. It’s built for people with aphasia due to traumatic brain injury or stroke and administered by neurologists. To make the need for treatment urgent and compelling to doctors, the team wanted to make the struggle of aphasia more real and understandable. They started with One Word: one real patient’s struggle to remember a single word (baby). 

The One Word film uses incredible illustration and imagery to go into the damaged brain and see what that single word – baby – has to contend with try to get out, from memories to words that start with the same letter to convenient synonyms. Finally, baby. All that for a single word.

Storysign was created by Huawei, the world’s second largest cellphone manufacturer. It’s an app that tackles an incredibly important issue: illiteracy in the deaf community and the health and wellness challenges – from mental illness to life expectancy – that lack of literacy can fuel. 

Deaf children can’t learn phonetically, so they struggle to match words with sounds. Huawei wanted to create a new way to help them make that match using mobile AI. Storysign is a global literacy platform for the deaf available across all Android devices. With the app, children can hold the phone over select books and watch an avatar translate the words into sign language. It launched in 11 different international sign languages and has more translation and more books to come. 

Viva La Vulva was a favorite of all the judges, including our own Syneos Health super star Sinead Murphy who said on the Inside the Jury Room panel, “It’s an absolutely beautiful piece of work. The craft is something we all wish we could do. It’s joyful.”

Taboos, censorship and pornification of female genitals have fueled a lot of ignorance and anxiety across cultures. That’s increased the number of women requesting labiaplasty and decreased the number getting cervical smears because they believe they might have something to be embarrassed about. 

As Bodyform/Libresse expanded from selling period products to body care products, they wanted to take on the shame and reset what is naturally beautiful. Viva La Vulva is a music video featuring hundreds of singing vulvas, but it’s also origami, GIFs, murals, giveaways, and so much more. It shows women the diversity most of us never see. And all in a way that beat every media ban. If you haven’t already clicked through to see the video, here’s that link again.

Ok, finally, someplace new for puppies to pee, as promised. Purina’s Street-Vet is a digital billboard that tests a dog’s urine to check for disease. With one pee on a poll, the smart device can check levels of glucose, protein, leukocytes, and pH and post results right to the interactive digital billboard. Owners can even download results to take to their veterinarians. 

Purina wanted to try a test that happens in real life because dogs are great at hiding their symptoms and not enough of their humans get them to their annual vet checks. Street-Vet can help spot signs of disease early and sync up with the ProPlan Veterinary Diet to support dogs’ health with nutrition. 

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation and Insights for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for building and scaling a global team of healthcare experts who together help life science leaders better understand the complex lives, influences and expectations of their customers. Specifically, they uncover actionable insights that fuel empathy and creativity; lead co-creation events that let marketers learn from peers, trends, and new possibilities; and help clients identify the most valuable and useful new customer experiences to create.

Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for nearly 20 years.She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she held several leadership roles at our largest agency, GSW.  There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business.

Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes.

A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. This year, she led over 250 experts to experts to focus on the most important changes in the commercial, consumer, marketing, digital and healthcare landscapes. (See reports at

Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice and Top 10 Innovation Catalysts of 2017 by MM&M, Leigh also was recognized  as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.