Agile thinking – what’s our vision

On a bitterly cold January morning the multi-talented PLBR account handling team gathered for our first monthly breakfast meeting of 2015. These meetings are a fantastic opportunity for us account guys to get together to discuss ongoing projects and best practice solutions; showcasing the creative work each account pod has produced in unison with our award winning creative team; sharing inspiring case studies; and of course an opportunity for us to have a good old chinwag over some lukewarm coffee and stale delicious pastries.

In saying that, this little get together had a twist. We knew that we were in for something different, but we were not sure what was in store. Some people’s minds (definitely not mine!) drifted to a group review of the Victoria’s Secret Super Bowl ad, others to an impromptu Great British Bake-off style challenge (definitely not Harriet) whilst the more reflective members of the team yearned for a ‘This is Your Life’ special starring the late, great, Deirdre Barlow.

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Greetings my friend

How wrong we all were. We were welcomed by our good friend ‘the workshop’, who had been meticulously planned by our crack-team of process junkies Bridget, Nina and Matt. It was to be one of the most energetic workshops ever held at PLBR towers, with discussions hotter than the fires of Mount Doom contained within the walls of ‘The Shire’. Oh, if those walls could talk…

Upon gathering together in mutual fuzziness at what was basically dawn, we were greeted with our topic for the morning, “Agile Thinking – A change from the norm”. A quick glance around revealed that whilst the majority of us knew what both words meant in isolation, only a few wise members knew what they meant in combination.

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So what is Agile Thinking?

An agile thinker is someone who can ask good questions, someone who values balance, someone who can consider different perspectives and someone who can balance execution. Now I know what you’re thinking, so a workshop around Agile Thinking means “Everyone get in a room and smash some marketing type speak on a post-it note?” Well kind-of, but the real overarching goal and drive here was to work as a team (banning words such as – budget, workload and resource) so we could share our thoughts on the agency’s vision and how we as an account handling unit could be a part of that movement.

Following a rousing introduction by Client Services Director Wyndham Clark (I’ll let you decide whether he told me to say that or not) we were split into groups to tackle three topics and began to get down to some intense brainstorming.

Topic 1: What is our agency vision?

Topic 2: How will the account handling team help achieve that vision?

Topic 3: How will our regular account handling forum help us achieve our vision?

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Against the clock

In just 10 minutes for each topic we were challenged to come up with a solution. The fast paced thinking really slapped away any remaining morning cobwebs and post-its began to zip around the room like super-injunctions following a football club’s Christmas party.

And the results

So what were the outputs? Well, we managed to whittle down the many candidates for agency vision to just a few; ‘trust developers’, ‘pioneering’ and ‘thought leaders’ however the overwhelming winner was ‘desired’. Put forward by Anisha, it was decided that this was the word that resonated most with what we were all trying to communicate (in varying forms of chaotic chatter). Desired by potential clients, desired by current clients, desired by the most talented individuals out there and most importantly desired by the people here at PLBR. Having that very rare feeling in this day and age, of job satisfaction. This can come in many forms but we agreed that the most important was coming to work knowing that what we do is making a difference.

How can we help and how will our forums help? Well that’s for us to worry about but keep your eyes to the ground and your ears peeled for further updates on our agency vision!

Ollie Fraser – Senior Account Executive

Bright Sparks: Picking up the pace

It is week 4 and our bright sparks are embracing the pace of advertising life.

Jonathan Webb – Creative Executive 

Well, here I am at the end of my fourth week!

The pace has certainly picked up; I feel I have definitely been in the thick of it, especially in my fourth week where we had many hours to put in to complete two briefs that were at different stages. It was hard work and stressful at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have still loved every minute of working here at PLBR and I look forward to the weeks to come with the same fervour.

I had a presentation given by Vineet Thapar from Digitas Health Life Brands, where he detailed all the digital focused work that they do, and it has made me very excited when I start my next placement there!

Vineet Thapar - SVP, Group Creative Director Europe.

Vineet Thapar – SVP, Group Creative Director Europe. Digitas Health.

Everyone is still extremely nice, funny, hard working and wonderful to be around up at PLBR, making me think it’s genuinely how they are and not just how they presented themselves when I started. It makes for a great environment to work in. They also still eat a lot of food, there’s always chocolates or cakes or something being shared out, which is always great.

I’m also looking forward to the Christmas party! Roll on week 5!

Amma Osei-Owusu – Account Executive

Looking back, I’m finding myself wondering how time has gone by so quickly! It seems to be moving insanely fast, I suppose when I consider the fast pace of the agency it’s befitting everything flies along with the pulse. That being said after the whirlwind of the first weeks the dust has finally settled. I feel as though I now have a grounded routine where I “sort of – kind of” know what to expect. I have the expectation that every day will bring something entirely new to learn. I feel as though I’ve been finding my feet here, I’ve been learning the ropes. Daily I’m met with a vast array of different tasks to accomplish, most things are completely new to me and each task I  complete brings  that sweet sense of fulfilment; the sort that makes you want to pause and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done but the learning doesn’t plateau. The thing about the LAB experience is it’s a bit like a decathlon, it’s a constant roll of events and hurdles to face and it’s all about constant progression. Already looking back I’m amazed that in such a short period of time I’ve picked up so much it’s like an intensive course where I’m actually able to apply the new skills I’ve learnt and that gives me a fabulous sense of achievement.

Amma at work

Amma at work

The thing that most distinguishes the earlier weeks from these latter weeks is the growing sense of responsibility that comes with being increasingly involved with clients. As an account manager, client interaction is undoubtedly the biggest part of the job. I’ve been gradually integrated into the conversations between the agency and external clients whereas in previous weeks I was solely engaged with internal communications. I’m so grateful to be involved in the process – to be the link between the client and their desired goals, this is major stuff for me!

Part of getting stuck into the role of an account manager means constantly accounting for finances; total project cost, out of pocket expenses and so forth. It also means tracking the development of projects right from the first brief, estimating cost and raising job numbers, warranting that time is allocated appropriately, constructing and ensuring timelines are met, ensuring the client is not just satisfied but is happy. We are required to do that little bit extra in order to be successful. Here at Saatchi and Saatchi health we build meaningful relations with clients this means they see us as an extension of the team and not just an agency, these are just some of the things I constantly have to be thinking about.

Finances, finances, finances

Finances, finances, finances

Considering I entered into the LAB without the same background in healthcare that others in this profession possess, the amount I’ve learnt about the healthcare industry within the scope of time is gastronomical. I feel like I’ve suddenly delved into vast world that I previously didn’t not realise the breadth and depth of. There are so many complexities to it. Working on different accounts means I’m constantly introduced to different conditions and drug treatments. The variety in the types of clients we work with is also what makes this job so enjoyable. One minute I’m working with a client that produces an anticoagulant for stroke treatment and in the very same day I’ll also be working with a client that specialises in incontinency care. They all have varying needs and wants. In addition to that there is the tricky and sticky “red tape” restrictions that regulate healthcare advertising. The task presented to us to us to rise above the challenge is quite a big ask, but from my time here already I’ve learnt that the Saatchi mantra “nothing is impossible” couldn’t be more true when it comes to healthcare communications. To overcome the obstacles set before us it is important we approach them at different angles and perspectives. My unique contribution I believe, perhaps stems from my unfamiliarity with this world. My eyes are wide open just like a child in a sweet store I’m overwhelmed – filled with awe by the mass and scope of it all, but seeing the bigger picture – the holistic picture is so vital in this industry, and asking the questions my curiosity probes me to ask, may lead not just to greater understanding for my sake but also to further innovation in the approach to healthcare communications.

About the ‘New Guy’

Well I have been asked to write a PLBR blog, which I graciously accepted without knowing what I wanted to talk about. So I hope the following ramblings and incoherent thoughts suffice.

As the ‘new guy’ I am often asked about what I did before winning the creative role from The Lab. So I suppose this blog post will not be dissimilar from a bio piece, but I will try to include some advice or talk about something of actual value along the way. Try not to get bored.

I suppose for want of a better word; I am an artist and always have been. From moulding foul smelling Play Doh into sculptures, to having more child-friendly anti-toxic paint over myself than the paper – I was always told I would make a great artist. I wanted to be one. Not the society hating, pretentious, rude and hard to work with ‘tormented genius’ role that looks down on other people (which seems to be the norm these days). Rather the kind that likes to create for beauty’s sake.

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So with that in mind, I did a year towards a degree in Law. And even though I found criminal law to be interesting, I knew it wasn’t enough to hold my attention for the rest of my life, so I applied for art courses whilst working in a bank. Not in a branch, but in a ‘magic building’ where the real work happened. It was pretty dull. I eventually started my degree in Fine Art and it was 3 of the best years of my life. I drew, painted, sculpted and slept a lot. I had a particular affinity with lens work and branched off in the latter half of my second year to specialise in film and photography. My first film was awful. It’s 3 minutes long, involving me sharing a banana with myself. Black and white silent film where I stole some music from a Charlie Chaplin film and slowed it down to around 80%. Poorly edited…It went on to be showcased at the Whitstable film festival. A lot of people shook my hand saying how much they liked it. Damn.

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I also love photography. Some of the shots I achieved with a really bad camera (included) I think are a testament to how I compose a shot. I’m really happy with them so I hope you think they are cool. I am now saving up for a 5d or a c300 or something similar.

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I have written a lot of screenplays, a few of which I was told to pursue by one of my lecturers – a film-maker who has had commissions with Film 4. So that’s a thing. Maybe if I plan it out well enough I can get a few short films done before I’m thirty. One of them I did in my final year at university. I was the producer, budget handler, head of casting, location scout, set designer, camera operator, director, runner, gaffer, cinematographer, editor, colour grader and I set up the screen for the ‘I AM art exhibition’ it was shown for. I will get funding and a crew next time. It was selected for a 6 week screening at the Turner Contemporary Gallery. An honour. I am not posting a link to the video as I don’t like it any more – sorry!

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I suppose I had better talk about something of value. A cutesy go-away-and-think-about-this type deal. Hopefully some of you are still reading, I know this is long. I wouldn’t read it. Anyway, I’ll call it ‘inspiration’. Here goes.

Aesthetic is important and wondrous. Not a day goes by where I don’t look up at the stars and get lost in the vastness (oh look he is a pretentious arsehole). I have seen Hubble space images projected at an IMAX, as well as footage of them installing the Hubble – all narrated by Tom Cruise. I highly recommend it. That’s what inspires me. Knowing how finite and insignificant we are against the vastness of what we don’t know. Seeing exploded stars in 12K resolution – dead, like they had stuck a pistol in their sun spot, with colourful matter like star brains that are smeared across the space wall – is awe inspiring. If I ever figure out how to transform that beauty outside of space photography and into a gallery I’d be a millionaire. It’s taken a horrible bad poetic turn, but I include a picture of a poetry ‘thing’ I won in school. See it? Great young minds. See, right there, credentials. I was a cocky kid in school, but least I had evidence to back it up. These are the ramblings I told you about at the beginning, remember?

If I had anything to say of worth, it’s to find your muse. Find something or someone that inspires you, and hold on to it. Look at it every day, even if it’s as stupid as looking up at the stars every night. Go and hold your head up high – walk out the door every morning knowing you’re going to kick arse that day. That’s what inspiration does; it’s the little spark that starts it all. Go get ’em you brilliant bastard, I believe in you.

Jonathan Webb – The New Guy.

2 weeks on the job and our diagnosis is…

Following our lab initiative, two amazingly talented individuals have now joined our team. We thought it was only fair to give them a chance to tell you how they are both settling in.

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“Some future industry leaders are born. Others are made in The Lab.”

Jonathan Webb – Creative Executive

I have arrived at the end of my second Friday now with the creative team at PLBR and what a two weeks it has been.

I have already been included in numerous projects, which has given me great insight into our current work and the clients we are dealing with. Initially the NAUBE (Numerous Acronyms Used By Everyone) were difficult to grasp, but such is the nature of the healthcare sector I suppose. I feel I have assimilated smoothly into my new job, largely due to the fact that everyone on the PLBR team have been incredibly accommodating, friendly and an all-round great bunch of people.

Any difficulties? Adjusting to working as a team. I have worked as part of a team in many capacities before, but never in a creative one. I have always been the lone ranger artist, I come up with concepts and I know how I want it to look, so I make it that way. Coming to a team environment I have to reign in how I think it should look, and contribute to something to how we all think it should look. I’m getting there sooner than I thought.

JonI feel I have definitely contributed, I feel I at least add a different perspective when looking at things, which is always a great addition to a team of already creative people. I got a few strange looks when I broke out the watercolours instead of designing something digitally, but the end product of what I made people really liked, and was used to show the client one of the concepts, so I’m happy whether I was being placated or not. Taking it ‘old school’, I might just help start a campaign in pastels, not pixels.

All in all, I have loved my time here so far and I don’t want it to end! To know I’m getting paid to do something I love, with really great people is a clichéd ‘dream come true’. Two and a half hour creative brainstorms seem to fly by, and I walk out of the meeting room with a buzz. I feel that I have barely scratched the surface of what I can introduce into this industry. Hopefully, given time, I can shine like the ‘bright spark’ The Lab was looking for.

Amma Osei-Owusu – Account Executive

So the morning of the 28th of October had dawned. And since finding out that I had won a place on the LAB, my mind had not stopped buzzing about all the excitement that lay in store for me. I’d frequently find myself ticking off the days and hours in my mental calendar anticipating my first day, and alas, here it was and not a second too late or a moment too early. Reminiscent of a child on Christmas Morning I found could barely contain my excitement; evidenced by the fact that I was up literally at the crack of dawn! No, I hadn’t lost my mind, it just didn’t occur to me at this point that perhaps I should get some more rest, as far as I was concerned I needed to prepare. Training as a territorial army Cadet had taught me to leave nothing to chance and nothing was going to be left to chance. A woman on a mission I set about executing my regimented plan, dogmatically working out how I was going to manage and dodge any potential mishap and unexpected cannon balls that might threaten to throw me off. I was determined to have the best possible start. I was preparing for what I saw as break of a new dawn and oh boy was I ready for it. And what of self-doubt? Quietly extinguished with a burning yet precautious confidence. I Love a challenge I re-assured myself, bring on the LAB!

Amma

The following two weeks flew by like a whirlwind, there was so much to process so quickly, a storm of buzzwords and a hurricane of acronyms being thrown with jargon language flying between them. The task of swallowing them up seemed mammoth at first but with the support of my new colleagues I became partially fluent in this new alien language. I must have been asked a 1001 times about how I was finding my experience, caught off guard and still basking in the shock of it all, I’m pretty sure I replied 1001 times that It was “erm good ..Yeah amazing so far” it seems concentrating in picking up this new vocabulary had conversely limited the range of my existing vocabulary.

Also, I have never been to so many meetings in such a short space of time. From catch up meetings with the Account Executive team in fabulous Soho, to breakfast meetings with Keelie and lunch and learn/account overview meetings within the office, the interaction between staff is fantastic. As well as discovering that I’ll never go hungry here (because of the endless supply of food) I’ve found the communication infrastructure within this agency to be so incredibly efficient, which is vital because with so much going on concerning various clients and projects things could quite easily get extremely manic very quickly. However with effective dialogue streams opened across all sections that is; from the clients to account managers, from the account managers to the creative team and from the creative team to the studio, the process of work progresses very efficiently. In short, things get done and get done well. I can’t wait to discover what else I will learn from this experience, there is so much to pick up on its great. I guess I’m just a sponge soaking it all up.

He’s like Marmite…

I know we are given completely free rein in choosing what we would like to write about on here (minus expletives or obscenities) so it may seem a little sad that I am going to share a pharmaceutical-related post, but I think that there is much more behind the scenes of this particular article. Last weekend I sacrificed my much-anticipated Saturday morning lie in to go and visit the Damien Hirst exhibition at the Paul Stopler gallery. Art teamed with science is pretty much my idea of heaven, especially when it displays such an analytical platform – there’s always Sunday.

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SCHIZOPHRENOGENESIS – yes I also wondered how Hirst managed to piece this term together, the melody of the syllables suddenly resonates a pleasant edge. After wandering around the life-size articles for the first 10 minutes I took it upon myself to ask an exhibitionist what they understood by that name in lights – it took a lot as it was a fairly small room with a deafening silence. So apparently Hirst wanted to try to portray the birth of schizophrenia through the way in which the pharmaceutical giants dress up their products. He feels as though it’s a two-way street in the development of such a disorder, and the prescription of medication – sort of a ‘chicken or egg’ dilemma.

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(Damien & Genesis’ Phil look separated at birth)

And as an unsuspecting member of the public it is easy to be drawn in by the pretty, clean and striking models that are laid out on such a stark white background. But what is missing is the dark side of which ironically Damien is notorious for, which is why I find this particular piece so tantalising. It’s not about the first impression, Hirst entices you into becoming infatuated by the portraits, the neon title and the pastel toy-like models, but what is really significant is the sobering reflection.

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The pharmaceutical aspect of this exhibition is actually – excuse the cliché – the tip of the iceberg. Hirst even took it upon himself to plaster his own brand over the back of a pill packet to almost make a mockery of the giants of the industry, to fool you to believe that anyone could personalise and materialise their very own fairytale cure.

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I’m sure many are aware of the imprisoning nature of Schizophrenia however little is known about the effects that it induces upon sufferers and their loved ones. They too strive to create a façade, to disguise the differing personalities and states of mind. Governed by the diagnosis from a trusted professional and ultimately held hostage by the tiny capsules that greet them each day. In a way it is a pretty pill, a beaming beacon of hope that helps guide an individual towards a lifestyle that is worthy of a show – but the show must go on and in this case spiral into a vicious circle. As an audience you are confronted by stacks of medication piled on top of one another, possibly signifying the competitive nature of the industry; which I interpret as a reflection of the competing thoughts that a sufferer has to strive to referee.

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Looking at the containers, the bottles and this syringe – they are all empty, why? It leaves you with such a hollow feeling, this outer shell portrays such a promise from a first glance, but the reality is lacking true substance. Interestingly I managed to discover that Hirst had toyed with the idea of including a completely transparent see-through pill model to bring the placebo to life, but I think the fact that he decided against this emphasises the very purpose. The placebo effect in this case is the one the audience feels viewing his spectacle.

Anyway, I could type on for pages analysing his every intension but I will leave you to take away what you will. From my perspective Hirst can do no wrong (mild bias) and work of this nature can only create a global platform for the education and positive press of a disorder like schizophrenia. If you do get the chance to visit, this free exhibition is on until the 15th November (Tuesday–Saturday). Unless you want to purchase a little memento, in which case all the best with selling your car.

Thanks for reading :-)

Abbie Warner – Junior Account Executive

Cannes, it pulls you in

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It is generally agreed that Russian literature understands and interrogates the human condition like no other genre. Physical and mental disorder and dystopia are the fabric of some of the world’s greatest stories from War & Peace to Crime & Punishment. By coincidence or design Tolstoy became a recurring theme for me at Cannes this year, having recently started reading Anna Karenina it struck me how ‘health’ in its broadest sense is a constant in Tolstoy’s work. The physical and mental state of his characters are an essential tool in his story telling, the dyspeptic, the dipsomaniac, the depressive, the bipolar, the love sick, the disabled, the pock-marked and the consumptive. He pulls you in to their lived human experience, you feel the exhaustion, terror and elation that makes us who we are. To Tolstoy the human condition is inseparable from physical and mental health, there to be explored and dissected whilst everything else – the external ‘consumer goods’, the clothes, food, activities and chitter chatter of society are there to be satirized.  So whilst there has been much debate as to the merit of having a separate Health Lions, that somehow by separating our sector from the real deal we continue to be perceived as the ‘special needs’ group. One could argue however that Health is the only sector to truly celebrate what it is that makes us human, whilst Cannes celebrates the external fripperies of consumer pointlessness – the joy of stuff, Cannes Health explores the exhaustion, terror and elation of being – the joy of us.

The seminars on Saturday afternoon crystalized the human condition so brilliantly – Jason Silva’s Boundless Possibilities: How Biotechnology could Revolutionize Healthcare, Rita Charon’s How the Story is Changing: The Power of Narrative Medicine and David Nutter’s Fighting for your Creative Life. Jason and Rita could not have been more different in character. Jason – the world’s worst dinner guest had the energy of an exploding bomb, his seminar felt like a blitzkrieg bombarding us with a series of extraordinary and mind-blowing ideas and possibilities for the future, moving so quickly if you lost concentration for just a minute you’d miss one. Rita on the other hand was ponderous, delicate, thoughtful and drifted through her half hour like a little cloud, contemplating and molding ideas as she went. In our “What are you talking about? Get to the point” culture both speakers were unusually disquieting.

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Jason Silva is frankly pretty excited about everything. In a nutshell he talked about how biology and technology are on the verge of merging to such an extent that we will soon all become monitor-able pieces of machinery uploading constant streams of physical data. He talked about the 2nd stage of civilization where sentient beings no longer explore outwards – their world and beyond, but explore inwardly – pulled into our bodies creating a complete map of ourselves in real time. Human beings effectively become transparent like an open watch face, the inner workings available for all to see and vitally, to change. He talked about technology being the scaffolding around us, an extension of our own biological systems. Eventually he disappeared so far down his own worm-hole it became difficult to follow, at some point in his future I think he plans for us to all leave our bodies and just drift in a sea consciousness. Or something.

Importantly though he raised the question “why do websites know more than my doctor?” He rightly points out that in the very very near future, getting nearer by the second, we will be self monitoring and self diagnosing. With self diagnosis soon comes self medication, which begs the question what will be the role for doctors in the future?

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The ethereal Rita answered the question in her own unique way. She talked about the calling – the natural pull of care giving and rather sweetly she included us, the advertisers in that calling. She bemoaned the new generation of business-doctors (perhaps more of a States-side issue than elsewhere) and their inability to ‘get it’. We were left wondering ‘get what?’ as she told a stream of consciousness story of a patient of hers who died of dementia. As a private doctor in the US of course you are able to take a shared role in patients lives, becoming in some instances part of the family. Private health care has the luxury of time, which allows the physician to practice the ancient skills of the family doctor. Evidently this involves quite a lot of crying.

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Still she pulled us in. She used Mark Rothko as a metaphor for becoming part of a patient journey. You are pulled in to his paintings; you do not see them as you do a patient with a bio-marker and a diagnosis. They cannot be distilled down or reduced to simple words or numbers. Rather you experience them, they surround you with a wealth of feelings and intangible emotions, they are sensations like sleep, skin, doubt or death. She likened her patients to unfolding stories that are narrated over time and encouraged the scientific community to embrace and enjoy the doubt and mystery of what it means to exist, to share the lived human experience with patients. It seems to me that Rita was calling for a return to a more ancient role for physicians, someone with whom we go on the strange mystical journey. In the context of Silva’s bio-tech future where today we are all citizen-journalists, tomorrow we will all be citizen-doctors, it may be that the traditional values of caregiving will become increasingly important.

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The final speaker of the day, the director David Nutter likes to share a tear or two as well, he seems to take great pleasure in making his crew and actors cry. Predominantly his presentation was a series of clips from stuff he’s done, from Game of Thrones to Band of Brother’s. Frankly it could have done with a lot more footage of Damien Lewis, still it was entertaining to a point. One of the most compelling things he said however, was about what he looks for in a successful character, what is it that will pull you in to a programme? He looks for the void, or the flaw: the element in someone’s history or character that has caused some kind of dysfunction. It is this void that pulls us in, makes us connect, makes us care about them and keeps us coming back to his shows again and again.

Our health makes us who we are. Physical and mental disorder and dystopia are the fabric of some of the world’s greatest stories. And good story telling, like good advertising pulls you in.

I am now going to contradict myself. Frankly Health Cannes should not exist. In fact Cannes should not exist at all in its current form. Judging communications based on channel is from the dark ages. No one makes just a press ad anymore; every single agency in the world has gone through the seismic shift required to create ideas not ads. Cannes could learn a lot from the Oscars and think about restructuring based on skill. Best idea, best content, best filmic, best static, best regulated, best product design, best art direction, best user generated. But we all know this is a money making machine and we can look forward to Cannes Car, Cannes Beauty, and Cannes Baby in the near future.

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Still Cannes Health was a fantastic and inspirational experience and restored my faith in advertising to do good things and not just add to the noise. Helped by the fact that we walked away with a silver. And I learnt a few things along the way:

–        I work with a really lovely and smart bunch of people, both agency & network
–        Jim Stengel is utterly affable
–        You are never too old to party til dawn
–        It’s not a good idea to say ‘Ghurka’s foreskin’ to the guy at passport control

Sian Dodwell, PLBR Head of Planning

Gold, always believe in…

A couple of weeks ago, sitting between my toddler and a swaying uncle at a Polish wedding of Big Fat proportions, I had the pleasure of tasting it with every course.

With the starter.

With the soup.

With the main course at 18.30.

With dessert.

With the second main course at 21.00.

With the third main course at 23.00.

By the fourth main course at 3am, most of the bottles had been knocked back. Or over.

Last week, I was plied with vodka all over again. This time through the icy-smooth mouth of a vodka Luge, just one of the many attractions at the IPA Best of Health awards 2013.

Another highlight was the black and white chequered dance floor and the fascinating array of action that passed over it. Kate had obviously called ahead as she was perfectly matching in her Biba-esque dress.

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So what about the main attraction – the awards themselves?

The competition had heated up this year. Alongside old friends, bold ideas, delicate illustration, stunning photography and beautifully crafted words all made an appearance.

But two things stood out for me. Firstly, the influence of the new world (and I don’t mean the wine) which couldn’t be ignored. China and Australia stormed a number of categories, and deservedly so.

Second, the freshly-meshed media mix. A surge in film.  Social as more than just an add-on. Apps and e-details with attitude.  And a whole lot of experiential work to feel inspired by.

Of course, PLBR were on form…

GOLD for The Passage for Out Of Home.

A Special Prize for Best Use of Copywriting.  Also for The Passage.

And a nice sprinkling of bronzes.

What with that and the sunshine, we’re feeling good this week.

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– Klara Kallis