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A Lion in five

This week: The Pharma Lion

The Pharma Lion launched in 2014 and are designed to celebrate creative communications from pharmaceutical clients and services surrounding this highly-regulated industry.


Together with the Health & Wellness Lion, these two Awards are part of Lions Health. For the uninitiated, Lions Health is the oldest of the three specialist events at Cannes, launching in 2014.

Why does it exist? Well the regulations that agencies in the healthcare space must operate within, restricts their creative boundaries. So the Health & Wellness and Pharma Lions allow work to be judged on a fair playing field, while still driving creativity forward in the the sector.

To take home a Pharma Lion, Award-winners need to demonstrate ideas that inform and engage health practitioners, patients and targeted consumers; that is work that brings science and innovation to life, facilitating diagnosis, prescription, disease mitigation or illness management.

Here’s a selection of entries from 2016 that have been chosen by our Pharma Lion specialist as good examples of pharma agencies thinking more like consumer agencies. This is less about a collection of work that has taken home awards, and more about illustrating the breadth of entries in the Lion. 

The website

See the credits in the Cannes Lions Archive

Xifaxan He by Salix Pharmaceuticals
Silver Pharma Lion in Communications to Healthcare Professionals: Pharma, Vaccines and Biotech, Branded Communication – Integrated. (Also shortlisted in another Pharma Lion section)

A website aimed directly at HCPs that uses high standard digital craft to visualise cognitive damage. A great example of creativity used as effective communication around a sensitive and information heavy topic.

The education film

See the credits in the Cannes Lions Archive

JJ-Man by A. Menarini Hong Kong
Pharma Lion entrant in Communications to Non-Healthcare Professionals: Education & Awareness, Film – Cinematography (Also picked up a Bronze Pharma Lion in another section)

Starting a conversation around a sensitive topic for patients and a banned subject matter for advertising in Hong Kong. Manages to pull it off with great humour and share-ability. 

The technology 

See the credits in the Cannes Lions Archive

Be Live by Pfizer
Pharma Lion entrant in Pharma Communications Tools & Devices: HCP Devices & Diagnostics, Broadcast – Film

Creation of wearable technology by an agency to track and store pain level data of Lyrica patients with fibromyalgia. Creativity that actually makes a difference to people’s lives, as well as providing physicians with usable data that was otherwise unavailable.

The branded film 

See the credits in the Cannes Lions Archive

Gut Guy by Valeant
Pharma Lion entrant in Communications to Non-Healthcare Professionals: Pharma, Vaccines & Biotech – Branded Communication, Small Business – Local or Operating in a Restricted Area

A branded pharmaceutical campaign reaching 25 million people during Super Bowl then shared and discussed through social media and news outlets is not something that happens often for pharma. A perfect example of a Pharma entry – with all the restrictions that come with it – using creativity for mass appeal and generating cultural conversation. 

The integrated digital campaign

See the full credits in the Archive

Good Morning Hypothyroidism, by Abbvie
Pharma Lion entrant in Communications to Non-Healthcare Professionals: Pharma, Vaccines & Biotech, Film – Art Direction/Production Design

Great insight – by using the prescription information of the drug itself to extrapolate a fully integrated digital campaign based.

Browse the Pharma Lion category in more detail on the Cannes Lions Archive, or if you think your work has what it takes to make the grade this year, visit the Awards Section.

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