2017 Executive Jury Spotlight Interview: Kathy Delaney

The Global Awards Executive Jury of prominent Chief Creative Officers, Managing Partners, EVPs, and Executive Creative Directors are recruited from the world’s foremost healthcare advertising agencies.  Our juries' dedication and high standard of excellence have meant that the ongoing legacy of the Globals is respected around the world, both by the winners themselves and in industry reports measuring the competitive excellence of worldwide advertising and communications competitions.

The Global Awards is excited to feature 2017 Healthcare & Wellness Executive Jury member, Kathy Delaney, Global Chief Creative Officer at Publicis Health based at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness NY in this week’s interview. Kathy is known in the industry for her bold creative vision, she has helped make Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness an award-winning powerhouse in consumer wellness marketing.

Throughout her career, she created and oversaw integrated campaign after integrated campaign that outperforms business objectives for such prominent clients as IKEA, J&J, Tommy Hilfiger, Revlon, Almay, Reebok, The American Heart Association, GNC, Pfizer Women’s Health, Exhale Spas, Merial Pet Care, LensCrafters and the Clinton Foundation.

Named one of the “Most Creative Women in Advertising” by Business Insider, Kathy’s work has been recognized by The One Show, Effie's, ADDY's, W3's, Graphis, ANDY's, Art Directors Club, Communication Arts, and Webby’s. In 2014, she served as the first-ever Jury President of the inaugural Cannes Lions Health festival celebrating creativity in global healthcare communications.

In the interview below, Kathy shares her personal philosophy, what inspires her about the industry and what she’d change, and offers insights on the changes we’re likely to see in health and wellness advertising in the coming years.

What philosophy do you live by and what creative icon inspires you personally?

Kathy: For the last several years here at Publicis Health, I’ve lived by the philosophy of ‘Feel Something. Do Something.’  When I feel something emotionally about an issue or cause, I am blessed with the ability to galvanize a group of like-minded people to help do something about it.  It’s created some of our best work for Diabetes, Homelessness, MS, Gun Violence, Animal Advocacy and more.  As far as icons, there have been so many influential figures over the years that have helped shape and change the course of my career.  But these days, I look less to the icons and more to the fresh, new talent that is emerging, and try to find inspiration and to learn from them as much as I try to inspire and teach them.

What inspires you about the industry and what do you wish you could change?

Kathy: The healthcare industry is a very special one because ‘empathy’ is the price of entry. You won’t be able to succeed here unless you have the ability to put yourself in a patient or sufferer’s shoes and try to imagine how you would want to be talked to or communicated with. I love that this industry drives positive change around the world. That’s huge. But I wish the industry would galvanize more around other, more societal issues that are not currently viewed as strict ‘health’ issues (gun violence, the gender gap). Expanding our repertoire of the issues that truly impact us as healthy humans on this planet can only effect more positive change.The other ‘wish for change’ I have concerns the healthcare industry in the US specifically. That consumer advertising here has to scare the hell out of people with 30 seconds or 200 words of fair balance/potential issues with taking an Rx product designed to help them or their condition. Yet other parts the industry aren’t held accountable for our off-the-charts obesity rates and endemic diabetes associated with the consumption of their products (soda, junk food, etc.) – Why should they be given carte blanche to completely disregard the risks associated with showing ads that endorse consuming products (soda, junk foods, etc.) in excess?

What will be the most prominent changes in health and wellness advertising in the next few years?

Kathy: Artificial Intelligence, Voice Assistants, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Telemedicine are all going to change the playing field dramatically, especially in content and how we view it within health and wellness. With Instagram influencers, YouTube superstars and Publishing platforms, just to name a few, all vying for people’s attention, we have to get desirable, snackable content out there on a much bigger scale. There’s still a way to go. But it’s an exciting time to be in the healthcare space and reach people who need us the most through other passion points they may have. It’s great to see some of the more traditional pharma brands busting out of the rut of traditional channels and broadening their appeal through smart content strategies.
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