2018 Executive Jury Spotlight: Kathy Delaney

Kathy Delaney

Global Chief Creative Officer
Publicis  Health
USA

2018 Global Awards Executive Jury member Kathy Delaney is Global Chief Creative Officer for Publicis Health, based at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, NY. She uses her bold creative vision to tell compelling human-centric stories that promote health and wellness while creating strong results for the agency’s clients.

Kathy’s passion for creating and overseeing integrated campaigns that outperform business objectives has influenced clients across the wellness, fashion, fitness, and beauty industries. IKEA, Tommy Hilfiger, J&J, Revlon, Reebok, Pfizer, Novartis, Starwood Hotels, ConAgra, Kraft, and Unilever are a few of the clients her work has positively impacted.

In 2014, Kathy served as President of the Health & Wellness Jury at the inaugural Cannes Lions Health, ushering in a new era of recognition for creativity in health and wellness communications. Named one of “The Most Creative Women in Advertising” by Business Insider, her work has been recognized by Clios, One Show, Effies, Graphis, MM&M’s, Communication Arts, W3s, Art Directors Club, Andys, and Cannes Lions. In 2018, Kathy was inducted into the MM&M Hall of Femme and named an HBA Luminary.

What do you find thrilling about the industry now that may have been different 5 years ago?

I love seeing meaningful brand voices activating across HCP, consumer and the wellness space. It continues to be siloed at so many other agencies and still siloed in some client’s minds. Fulfilling the fully integrated HCP/consumer promise is what’s different and exciting about the industry today, and keeping the promise of integration is what a place like Publicis Health supports and enable us to do—with data, with tech and, most importantly, with empathy and ideas. Also, being able to immerse ourselves in social now is thrilling. The walls are coming down, and as more and more brands figure out how quickly it can positively impact their success (and how quickly to course correct, if it’s a miss), clients are becoming braver and braver.

Health & Wellness and Pharma, although allied in many ways, can be described as totally different disciplines. There has definitely been a push in recent years for people to not only avoid illness the best they can, but also to be well and live their best life. Where do you see both disciplines going, both short and long term?

The days of just selling a pill or a medicine are over. Treatments for illnesses—big and small—need to wrap themselves in a much more holistic wellness message. That means preventative messaging, lifestyle messaging, just overall going beyond and before the pill to ensure that people are not just coping with an illness but improving every aspect of their health in every way they can. Also understanding that supplying patient services is not a “should do” but is a “must do.” As consumers continue to become more knowledgeable and more aware than ever before about what they put on and into their bodies and how that effects their health, these consumers want wellness brands to be legit from a science and ingredient perspective. It’s interesting and exciting to me how both sides want a bit of what the other has, which affords plenty of opportunities for both pharma and wellness brands.

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

There are so many exciting uses for VR in the health and wellness space that are emerging. We’re seeing everything from VR experiences that help get kids through chemo treatments and beyond. Telemedicine is also on the cusp of becoming huge. I also think we are going to see a return of the doctor/patient relationship. The human touch is more important than ever in healthcare as we continue to become more and more digitized and automated. 

you could work pro bono for a brand, foundation, or organization in your field who would it be and why? 

Wow, we work with so many and I only wish we could take on more! We work with Crossroads Communities Homeless Shelter and Soup Kitchen to combat hunger, which is a huge problem right here on our doorstep. We continue to tackle the huge, political, and terrifying issue of gun violence that we face in this country. So many are trying to make a difference, but we have an enormous road ahead. We are working with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) right now to create an awareness campaign around mental illness and suicide. Another very misunderstood and polarizing topic that must be de-stigmatized to get better. Opioid addiction, having recently lost a young nephew to an overdose, now tops my list of issues that as a society we have to come together and solve. Just heartbreaking and there’s not enough awareness and warnings around the addictive and life-threatening properties of opioids and how easy it is to fall victim to addiction.

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 was drawn to this industry after many years of working in the general marketing space. I spent years on great brands like IKEA and Snapple, Revlon and Kraft, etc., and I adored working on these iconic brands. But I found within health and wellness, there is much more of a clear purpose for me and for the brands that live in this space. There’s the unique ability to create meaningful human social impact, as well as drive business. And to innovate within a category that is designed to better lives. That’s what I signed up for. That’s what I get up for.