Are healthcare creativity awards second-class citizens to other creativity awards? This question was a big debate at last year’s inaugural Lions Health awards in Cannes.

Despite the segmentation of creativity Lions is known for—there are awards for digital, film, creative data, PR and branded content, to name a few—Lions Health is the first Lion to segment out a client business.

The question lingers in its second year: Is a Health Lion really a lesser Lion?

The answer, ultimately, is in the quality of competition Lions Health attracts. Last year’s Lions Health judges worked hard to set a high bar. They were the right kind of tough and stingy, resisting the pressure to name a Grand Prix for Pharma because no entry was worthy of that top prize.

But what if there was Gold-worthy “life-changing creativity” in 2014 that never made to the Lions Health judges? An unofficial, informal, and unscientific survey of the 2014 Gold Lion winners (the Lions, not the Health Lions) showcases a surprising number of health-related brands and efforts:

 “:{TO:) Cleft to Smile” for Smile India (Ogilvy)

“Dear Future Mom” for World Down Syndrome Day (Saatchi & Saatchi)

“Cavaties Attack At Night” for Colgate-Palmolive (Red Fuse Communications)

“Fila” for Bayer Brasil Aspirin / Cafiaspirin (AlmapBBDO)

“Elo Teddy Bear” for Amaral Carvalho Hospital (DM9DDB)



“ALVIO” QOL Respiratory App (R/GA)

“If Only For A Second” for Mimi Foundation (Leo Burnett)

“Mother Book” for Bell-Net Obstetrics (Dentsu)

Only the last one, “Mother Book,” was shortlisted in both Lions and Lions Health. And it won Gold in both. That’s encouraging news if you believe that everyone’s work is better when the competition is tougher and the bar higher.

How about that phenomenal effort by the Mimi Foundation supporting cancer patients? Or the “Dear Future Mom” outreach to help expecting parents deal with a Down Syndrome diagnosis? Why, one wonders, weren’t they also entered into Lions Health? If “Mother Book” could grab Gold in both Lions and Lions Health, certainly these powerful and beautiful works would have had a fighting chance.

And is not health literacy and education the ultimate demonstration of life-changing creativity? Colgate-Palmolive’s health literacy packaging campaign innovates without a battery. And fully charged innovations like a voice-interacting oncology care bear and asthma gaming brilliantly connect creativity with technology to serve the kinds of human needs only healthcare issues tee up.

Maybe those agencies and clients didn’t believe Lions Health recognition was worth the $600 (US) entry fee. Or perhaps creative directors simply weren’t aware of the Lions Health side bet taking place the week before the full Lions Festival.

Whatever the case, Year Two should help clear that up. I am looking forward to seeing the best of the best creativity that human health has to offer. Hopefully it will be found this year at Lions Health.

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.