Live from Cannes Lions Health: The history of healthcare communications is full of directives about what we should do or even have to do. This year’s short listers and award winners focused more on what would be easy to do – small steps with big impacts. Some of our favorites included a lollipop cheek swipe, an organ donation program that gives second chances to the donors (and the recipients), and a COPD test that requires a single breath. 

Life Lolli

KMSZ is Germany’s largest donation registry to recruit bone marrow donors. Its work benefits children diagnosed with blood cancer. All too often, a stem cell donation is their best chance for survival. But the odds of finding a match? They’re not good. The best candidates are typically 18 – 30 years of age, but very few people in that age group are registered donors. 

Life Lolli was designed to help more young people find out if they could save a life. It’s a simple lollipop with an extra feature: once a person finishes the pop, the stick can be used to swab the inside of the check and collect DNA. Suddenly tissue typing is as easy as a quick snack. Oh, and, the heart-shaped candy is perfect for social media sharing. 

Second Chances

Organ donation is a long game. It’s the ultimate gift, but people tend to be asked to give it at times we aren’t feeling especially generous – like on line at the DMV. Only about half of Americans are registered donors and California has the lowest percentage of registered donors in the country. 

Donate Life California needed to change that to help the 114,000 people waiting for a transplant. They decided to bet on a little pink dot. That dot is a sticker on organ donors’ drivers licenses. It’s not a big ribbon or a badge, but it does identify them. And, it could give the organization a chance to proactively thank donors for giving a person in need a second chance. 

In the runup to National Organ Donation Awareness Month, Donate Life California partnered with police organizations to give people a small taste of what it feels like to find yourself in a dreaded situation no one expects and then feel the relief of getting through it. When drivers were pulled over for speeding tickets, police checked their licenses for a pink dot. Organ donors got a “second chance ticket” (a warning) instead of being ticketed. The officers also thanked the donors for their service. The short campaign earned 3 million free impressions and a 38% bump in organ donor registrations. 

Breath Of Life 

Breath of Life is a COPD test in the ubiquitous Chinese messaging platform wechat. Developing an easy, works-anywhere test was critical in China because most people with COPD in that country are undiagnosed. In fact fewer than 1:3 sufferers are even aware of the disease.

Taking the Breath of Life test requires just a mobile phone. The user breathes into the microphone and the volume of breath creates a soundwave, represented by a beautifully illustrated tree. If the breath volume is less than 70% of normal / healthy, the user receives a recommendation to see a physician. The team behind the clever tool included the unlikely duo of a pulmonologist and apopular Chinese blowing-ink artist. The image of the tree was included in part to earn social media sharing that might encourage even more people to take the test.

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.