Some of my favorite colleagues and I were among the lucky thousands who flocked to Cannes for the fifth annual Lions Health. The bar was set higher than ever. We saw more work, better work and powerful new ways to support practices and patients. Creative leaders and speakers from around the world celebrated what we’ve accomplished as healthcare marketers and challenged us to do even more. Of course, we couldn’t wait to bring you all the best from the show.

We collected all our favorite short-listed creative, big ideas, and highlights from individual talks in 14 posts. Here’s the full list. But definitely start with this one:

Inspiration in Pfizer's This Is Living With Cancer: This powerful documentary is 9 people, sharing stories about what it’s like when you get the first, second, third diagnosis and the everyday ways they heal, cope and live on.

Pharma Brands Short-Listing At Cannes: 370 actions, ads and videos were entered in the Cannes Lions Health pharma program this year. The short list includes everything from print ads to pop-up stores to original sculptures and even congress booths. We went through them all and these are four of our favorites.

How Leaders Are Helping Patients Start Conversations: In healthcare we ask people to do an incredibly difficult thing: talk. Talk about the symptoms that scare them, the medications they don’t understand, the pain that’s hard to put into words. This year, four short-listed entries brought entirely new ways to start those conversations.

Changing Lives By Thinking About Social Factors First: The biggest drivers of health outcomes are social determinants. New studies and new ways are creating opportunities to use that understanding to save lives.

Unbreakable Brings The World Stories That Heal: Unbreakable is a new media platform and television show is coming to Fox. It’s a branded entertainment platform that tells stories about people who have overcome or addressed a challenging health event.

The Year of Transformation at GSK: The difference between buying a generic and buying one of GSK’s consumer brands doesn’t appear to be love. Instead, it’s trust.

What If We Innovated For Grown-ups Like We Do For Kids?: Brands continue to act with empathy and action for kids; creating experiences that take away fear, inconvenience, and inertia. It’s left us imagining what it would be like if we could bring this level of understanding to adult care.

Invest In More Powerful, Provocative Publishing: This year we’re hearing entirely unfamiliar voices tell the stories of health and healthcare and seeing the return of books with clever new interactive dynamics built in. Here are a few of our favorites approaches to provocative publishing.

J&J's Reinvention In The Age of Skepticism: Rebuilding trust takes time and transformation. Johnson & Johnson Baby invested in both. Alison Lewis, CMO of Johnson & Johnson Consumer, shared her experience reimagining some of America’s most iconic brands in response to consumer challenges and change.

Bringing The Power Of Love To Healthcare Brands: Merck wants make healthcare brands irresistible by creating experiences that consumers stop, watch and engage, even in low-interest categories.

The Radio Spot That Won At Cannes: A diabetes brand won gold for a simple radio spot that brilliantly blended pop culture and life with diabetes. It’s just so good.

Showing People Their Power: Sometimes the hardest thing in healthcare is knowing what you can do. Brands around the world closed that gap in 2018 with specific, actionable ways for people to raise a hand and get involved.

Experiments In Creativity: Can you joke about death? The Indian Association of Palliative Care says you have to. They asked dying patients to go on stage and joke about one of the country’s biggest taboos to open up new conversations.

Complete Mobile Support For ALS Patients and Partners: A complex treatment requires incredibly simple support. This tool is as simple and contextual as Uber but robust enough to go from planning to in-infusion support to community activation.

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.