On Thursday night, December 3 we celebrated the best of Healthcare and Wellness Advertising with the Global Awards at The NY Academy of Sciences. It was a big night with a tremendous volume of great work from around the globe. The passion and integrity of the work never ceases to amaze me. The world of Health and Wellness advertising continues to expand as more world cultures wake up to the idea that there is much more to staying healthy than taking pills. Western medicine continues to bring us many great therapies and we should never lose sight of that as we expand our minds to what I’ll call a more Eastern awareness — A more “global” perspective to personal health and well being.

Disease awareness continues to gain momentum as it proves its potential as a strong alternative to branded advertising when it comes to truly engaging audiences. If you read my recent blog post, Unstuck Yourself With Incongruity, on the importance of incongruity in the creation of and receptivity to ideas, you’ll note how the use of fair balance has potential to alert the brain more to the negative consequences of a therapy than to the suggested benefits. Consider the lingering effects of such messages when it comes to the pervasive lack of compliance and adherence that plagues the industry. Unbranded and disease awareness work are really important because engaging the brain in the context of a positive, unbranded story will help improve the effectiveness of communication, unencumbered from the negative messages of fair balance, we can help move individuals to a more positive and adherent lifestyle. This method effectively engages the ego-energy of the individual and heads for the heart with positive, affirming associations of the self.

The healthcare industry will always need communications that are focused on helping physicians better understand the medicines they prescribe. I’m sure most of us would like to see this work realized with more emotionally engaging ideas similar to what is now happening in unbranded efforts targeting consumers. Another area that is finally maturing in its potential to pull all this together is digital. We seem to have finally crossed a threshold where we are seeing very little digital work for digital sake. Achieving meaningful integration of ideas and medium delivers a powerful ecosystem of care that benefits everyone involved. This integration effectively unites all stakeholders into one seamless engagement. This type of work holds great promise to affect positive behavior change in all audiences, including physicians.

Last year in my blog post for the Global Awards I spoke of the deepening integration of digital into our lives, The Next Challenge for Global Healthcare Agencies and I believe this year we are beginning to see the potential of truly integrated ideas. There were a couple of entries this year that illustrate this point and I encourage you to enjoy an inspiring review of all of the winners here. One such elegant, creative solution is the idea called Penny The Pirate. Penny the Pirate is a brilliant integration of multimedia and delivers a concept that anchors a meaningful digital platform in conjunction with a delightful analogue solution to create a wonderful ecosystem of care. Say Ahoj to Penny the Pirate as she sets a new benchmark in integration. Penny the Pirate is from the great minds at Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney — Bravo to our friends down under.

With digital settling into truly meaningful integration, another positive aspect to this work is the trend we’re seeing in the return to ideas with traditional chops; ideas and executions not overreaching with digital hijinks — solid, great ideas…we might even call them analogue — resplendent in their simplicity and brilliance. This year’s Grand Global winner, the Luck Plan from Downtown Partners delivers on all fronts. The Windy City claims the big win; congratulations to the team..

Brandforming was honored this year to pick-up the mantle and create the key art for this year’s show. What a great way for agencies to support the Global Awards and their theme of creative globalization. You can read more about the origins of the idea, the art creation and the collaborative work that made it happen by going here.