Campaign India Team
Jun 22, 2015

Cannes Lions 2015: Praful Akali's blog: Lions Health roars with life-changing creativity

The author is founder-director of Medulla, which ranked third on the Lions Health Agency of the Year tally

Cannes Lions 2015: Praful Akali's blog: Lions Health roars with life-changing creativity
For the industry as a whole, the Lions Health has bloomed in its second year. On the awards, this year there were 1862 entries with a 30 per cent growth from the inaugural year. Not just the award-winning entries but the shortlisted entries too were truly inspirational. In line with the tagline, the awards truly rewarded “life-changing creativity”. Personal favourites included the Grand Prix for Good winner, “This Girl Can” to get more women to participate in sports and fitness activities from Sport England ; and the heavily awarded “I Touch Myself Project” to drive breast cancer detection from the Cancer Council NSW.
Life-changing creativity was the theme of the conference as well, with several workshops and seminars focusing on the same. Which brings to mind the question – are we in the advertising industry sufficiently using our talent and creativity to make the world a better place? My honest answer would be no but the Health Lions 2015 inspired – at the very least – me to look beyond the next pitch or contract or campaign, to try and work with brands to sell more by changing the lives of our customers and patients, not by pushing our product down their throats. So clearly, this does not mean that we all leave advertising and start NGOs. In fact, a few people from within and outside the industry have been making great headway. The Wider brothers have been working towards bringing real stories and real issues on health and medicine closer to audiences through heartfelt documentaries. Jose Miguel Sokoloff from Lowe has been working with the Colombian Government for the last several years to address the domestic war by converting guerrillas back to civil life through the power of creativity. If you are an advertising professional who wants to do more, do share more as comments on this blog or by mailing me on
And the key learnings on advertising and communications? These were pretty much on the lines of the current trends in mainline advertising as well: stop interrupting your customers and become a part of their lives. Stop trying to target them and develop missions that support your customers. Stop solving brand problems and help the brand solve a problem in the lives of customers. And all of this applies just as much whether your customers are consumers or healthcare professionals.
Another area that both groups – mainline advertisers and healthcare specialists – will find interesting is behaviour change. In healthcare, especially wellness and preventive care, behaviour change among consumers is a big challenge and learnings from here can be applied for all categories. Nelli Lahteenmaki, the CEO and co-founder of the YOU-app, focused on behavioural change, and mentioned that to achieve behavioural change you will need to use: a. Focus, b. Micro-actions, and c. nudges. The effect can then be enhanced or accelerated by using techniques like making it a game, peer-to-peer connect and inspiration. For the first time, someone broke down behavioural change for me, and it makes a lot of sense.
Lot’s more to share from the Health Lions 2015 but my word limit for this article is done. So let’s end by promising to change our own behaviour – and to focus on life-changing creativity instead of product-selling creativity in the future.
(Praful Akali is founder-director, Medulla Communications, a healthcare specialist advertising agency from India) 
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