Global Warning: Can Traditional Advertising Survive In Health?

Global Warning: Can Traditional Advertising Survive In Health?
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

Toby Pickford is the chief creative officer at Ogilvy Health and is currently representing Australia on the Health & Wellness Lions jury at Cannes Health Lions. In this opinion piece, he discusses whether traditional advertising can survive in the health industry.

Right now, it feels like traditional advertising is the polar bear on a lone iceberg. The space for it seems to be reducing every year as tech heats up to a new high.

Tech’s helping to diagnose, reveal, monitor and educate. It’s helping to increase inclusivity, improve depression and reduce anxiety. Helping the deaf, the blind and the lonely is only just the beginning of its power. Tech is well and truly flexing its muscles here at the Cannes Lions health & wellness judging sessions and could possibly sweep the board.

All is not lost for trad advertising and communications though. To me, it feels as though tech is filling more of the functional role and traditional, more of the feeling.

Having said that, traditional print-based tools are very effective in certain countries where tech cannot reach or be as useful and tactile.

There are some amazingly simple ideas – some big, bold and beautiful ones – that show there’s still a chance for traditional advertising. Film and sound are the only mediums that can bring a jury to tears or make them laugh out loud. I can’t see tech doing that. Not right now anyway.

So, if traditional is to create some parity here, agencies and clients shouldn’t give up on it. It still has a very important role to play. We need to be even more insightful, clever and braver – that’s what’s helping some of the best traditional work step out of tech’s shadow.

Who will be the overall winner here at Cannes health & wellness, tech or traditional? Could it be a mix of both? With three more days to go on this health & wellness jury, anything can happen and everything could change.

Whatever happens on finals day, I hope we can show off a body of work that will set a new direction for healthcare creativity – one that will truly inspire agencies and their clients to be braver than before.


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Cannes Lions Cannes Lions 2019 health Ogilvy Health Toby Pickford

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