This is not Bayer’s global chief marketing & digital officer Patricia Corsi’s first Cannes Lions, but it is her first being jury president for the Health & Wellness category. This year she is ready to ditch the age-old tale about progress in this field being critical, and make space for much higher expectations. After the shocks of the past two years, the world’s eyes are glued to the Health & Wellness category like they haven’t really been before, and Patricia knows this better than anyone, so she knows what to look for this year. Looking at all the possibilities that have opened up, now that the category is more in the eye of the mainstream than before, Patricia and probably large chunks of the industry are excited about what’s to come this Monday.
Besides this, at the backdrop of a long time spent apart, this year Patricia is excited about some genuine and deep connections at the first real-life Cannes in what seems like a lifetime, and out of those connections “we drive plans and actions to drive the agenda, our business and this industry forward.” LBB’s Zoe Antonov caught up with Patricia about her expectations and hopes for next week’s big event.
LBB> How are you preparing for the jury room this year?
Patricia> Some things are the same - I continue to be open and curious to all relevant conversations in this area. It has helped me to be on the jury last year when we were inspired by two years of work. Even though I have been jury president in the past, this is my first time in this role at Cannes, so I have also connected with a couple of partners and friends that have been jury president at Cannes in the past to learn from their experience and get insights and inspiration.
LBB> What is it about the category that you’re judging that really excites or interests you?
Patricia> If there was any doubt before 2020 that the progress of creativity in H&W is critical, I believe now this feels like an old time story. More than ever, with all the covid-19 impacts and unintended consequences - H&W as a category has people's attention, engagement and I dare to say much higher expectations. Creativity that builds knowledge, solves problems and tackles taboos are just some of the ways that outstanding creativity in this industry can shape the way we live. From reactive to proactive healthcare, banning stigmas on mental health and opening the space for true brand/consumer connections - I can not believe anyone would not get excited about this. So answering your question - ALL above!
LBB> What are you hoping to see this year?
Patricia> Continued momentum for this industry, with inspiring creative that stops me in my tracks.
LBB> It’s the first in-person Cannes since the start of the pandemic, like a pivotal moment for an industry that’s been massively disrupted - how do you think that’s going to shape your thinking about your category in particular?
Patricia> The wonders of human connection, the type of conversation, empathy it unlocks is unique. Online we have all learned to be very efficient, go from one meeting to another with a press of a red button. You can’t do the same when you are face to face. If I can wish for this festival - I wish that the connections are deeper, more meaningful, that we have more authentic and genuine encounters, and that out of that we drive plans and actions to drive the agenda, our business and this industry forward.
LBB> In the Health & Wellness category throughout advertising a big debate has been the idea that the industry creates issues where they are lacking to sell products, which has been the case many times. How do you think this is changing and how do you believe it will be fixed in the coming ten years?
Patricia> We cannot deny that regulations in this industry are higher, and rightly so - our products/services touch our most important asset - OUR HEALTH. The opportunity is to use this guidance to support innovation and creativity that solve unmet consumer needs. It is critical to have the engagement and support of the best brand leaders as well as creative and strategic agency talent to deliver outstanding and unexpected experiences. I believe that the phrase "Marketing is truth well told" is a great guiding light on how to solve the challenges and obstacles in the H&W category.
LBB> There has been a tidal wave of work in the past few years to do with women's health issues and breaking the taboos around the women's body (see TENA's ad where we saw urine on screen for the first time). How do you believe creative can do this but still keep things raw and authentic?
Patricia> Overall creativity without courage worries me, I mean if everyone in a packed room likes one idea it is probably not really getting its audience something to stop and think, and then also remember afterwards. BOLD ideas tend to be the ones where you can see uncomfortable faces within the crowd, and this should be embraced. Not without a clear objective - to be clear. To be disruptive just for the sake of shocking people is less interesting to me. I like disruption, challenging ideas, to have ’aha!’ moments- they are the ones that will stick in my mind, the ones I will talk about with my family and friends about, they are the ones that live much longer than their air time, and have a much deeper impact on society at large. "Dumb ways to Die," a multiple Grand Prix winner almost a decade ago, is one of those examples for me - unexpected, brilliant, with the power of getting people to stop to an important message and change their habits.