This year's Health & Wellness Jury President Mike Rogers gets some valuable advice from his 2016 predecessor, Joshua Prince from Omnicom Health Group
Inspired by the bit at the end of The West Wing where the members of the outgoing administration left notes of advice for their successors, we let this year’s Jury Presidents get some totally unofficial but incredibly useful advice from their 2016 predecessors.
"At one point, we had a heated debate about a submission that had heavily sexualised content."
(The Picture of Health: The 2016 Health & Wellness jury. Joshua Prince is top row, centre)
MIKE ROGERS: What were the highlights for you personally as Health & Wellness Jury President in 2016?
JOSHUA PRINCE: "Above anything else, maybe even the work, I enjoyed the brains, spirit and personality of our awesome jury. We had a pretty big jury of 17 people, but everyone, and I mean everyone, was thoughtful, generous and decent in their own way. Despite the fact that they all held pretty strong opinions about the work.
"It’s pretty rare to be able to spend several 15-hour days with that kind of concentrated, senior creative talent, and not have anyone kill anyone. The experience not only opened my mind about the work, but ways to think about the work.
"At one point, we had a heated debate about a submission that had heavily sexualised content. It delivered a super-compelling health message, and I instantly liked it. But it was clearly polarising along gender lines, and several of our jurors were flat-out offended by it. We all know polarizing work can be powerful… but it was clear this work polarised in unintended and unhelpful ways. It changed my mind, in one of the best ways. So my advice to you Mike would be to bring your creative instinct and opinion, but be open to having your mind changed."
MR: Lions Health is now in it´s fourth year. Do you feel it has had an impact on how the industry values creativity?
JP: "Without a doubt, it has. Every single one of our agencies in Omnicom Health Group studies the Lions Health work, and they all submit and aim for metal. We share the winning work with our clients, and it’s provoked a higher level of conversation about the value of creativity in healthcare communications.
"For too long, I think healthcare has been too reliant on important—but often hard to relate to—facts and data. Lions Health illuminates the power of ideas, of storytelling, of brilliant execution, and of capturing people’s hearts and minds, especially around science or data or healthcare information. Even though much of the work may be pro-bono, or about general or public health issues, clients can see the power of it, and are becoming more open and willing to explore that power for their own communications and brands. So I think there’s a new ambitiousness around healthcare work, thanks to Lions Health."
"It’s a big job being a Jury President. Take it seriously enough that you honor the work and elevate the very best of it, but not so seriously that you don’t have a laugh."
MR: Discussions can get heated in the Jury room, despite the aircon. How did you handle the alpha males and reach final decisions when the discussions were dragging on?
JP: You have to be one part teacher, one part cop, one part social-director, and one part motivational speaker. You can’t let one loud voice overwhelm the classroom, so you have to employ some elementary school tactics to call out, or shut down, opinion-bullying. When things get weird around agency self-interest with entries, you have to lay down the law and make sure people follow the letter of it.
A jury is also a social unit, so you have to pull some of the quieter voices off the bench, and get them to start dancing with others. And finally, you’re the Jury President. You have to take your jury on an inspiring mission, because what you select and award will be your collective statement about what good looks like. And you want your good to be great.
MR: What would be the one best bit advice you could give to a fellow Jury President?
JP: "It’s a big job being a Jury President. Take it seriously enough that you honor the work and elevate the very best of it, but not so seriously that you don’t have a laugh. Make some friends, drink some pink, and enjoy the limelight. But bring a handkerchief, it gets hot up there. Remember, you’re not curing cancer. Just celebrating work that might involve it.
"Oh, and one last thing. The awards night is like the Oscars of healthcare advertising. Try not to open the wrong envelope."