2018 Executive Jury Spotlight: Cherie Davies

Cherie Davies

Creative Director
Sudler & Hennessey
Australia

2018 Global Awards Executive Jury member, Cherie Davis is Creative Director at Sudler & Hennessey Sydney. Her creative career spans over 15 years and has seen her work at a host of companies that contain the letter “S”, including Saatchi & Saatchi, Saatchi Wellness, Sudler & Hennessey Sydney, Sudler & Hennessey International, Milan before joining greyhealth, Australia only to return to Sudler & Hennessey, Sydney as Creative director.

She brings invaluable experience to the Grand Jury having worked with some of the biggest brands in healthcare, including Pfizer, GSK, Roche, and Bayer. With her award-winning advertising being recognized both locally and internationally at Clio Health, One Show, Creative Floor and New York Festivals Global Awards.

Cherie prides herself on creating work that is grounded in strong strategic thinking, with enduring human truths that emotionally connect audiences to her clients’ brands. Her passion for creative bravery and craft is what gets her up in the mornings… that, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

The motto for the 2018 Global awards is FEEL Creative.  It’s about knowing your audience and empathizing to deliver top notch communications to not only represent your client fully but make people happier and healthier. Tell us a bit about your process – do ideas just come to you, or is it a collective brainstorm with your team?  How do you FEEL Creative? 

Every idea is different. First, it’s about finding that gem of an insight. It’s not always easy, so can take some digging and personal research. It’s so important to delve into spaces like patient/consumer forums and get a true understanding of the people you are talking to. Being able to empathize and truly “get” your audience is paramount to then connecting with them and eventually moving the needle to create change – whatever that change needs to be. Once I feel I have this understanding, I like to see where the team is at with their thinking and have a collective brainstorm. One small thought, comment, idea, as random or insignificant as it can seem at the time could be the spark for “THE” idea. In the end, you do whatever it takes until you get to “THE” idea.  

What is on the horizon for the industry in general and what do you see emerging more in the next few years? 

We will continue to learn and understand how tech can improve health outcomes. It’s an incredible time in our industry. No longer are creative ideas only a print, TV, digital campaign. It truly could be anything. Ideas can live and breathe anywhere, which is extremely exciting.     

What’s your biggest challenge in working in healthcare and wellness/pharma and what do you do to overcome that challenge, both personally and as a team? 

The biggest challenge is the strict regulations on Healthcare advertising. Every country is different, but they all come with their creative challenges. This can in turn cause some clients to become extremely risk adverse. An important factor to overcoming any challenge in any industry is a strong partnership with clients. Our best work has always been when we have had a true collaboration. From strategy through to ideation and production, having every person believe and trust in the process, the thinking and eventually the idea is extremely important.

Why did you choose to work in the field of healthcare and wellness advertising?  Did you fall into it or seek it out?  And what did you find when you got there that you didn’t expect.

I fell into it and honestly, I thought I’d give it a year or two then move on. But I didn’t, and I don’t regret a minute of it. I feel proud of the projects I get to work on and that ultimately every brief that hits my desk has some kind of positive impact on the world - as big or small as that impact is, it’s for good. 

Does working at times on such emotionally-charged and taxing projects that deal with life/wellness as well as illness/death issues ever bring up strong emotions for you as a creative?  How do you remain present while still accomplishing the goals of the brand and pushing for good patient outcomes? 

This is an interesting question. I’ve worked on many different conditions and every time you delve into a world of disease and/or death it affects you deeply, it can’t not. I’d be lying if I didn’t say some have brought me to tears. You can’t help but think how you would deal if it was your mother, father, child, friend… you. It seems impossible to fathom, but then you see incredible strength in these people who have no choice but to face some of life’s greatest challenges – they are incredible fighters and they are an inspiration. It’s this that lifts you, drives you. I have complete admiration every time.