2018 Grand Jury Spotlight: Tim Jones

Tim Jones.jpg

Tim Jones

Creative Director
Havas Lynx


Grand Jury member Tim Jones is a Creative Director for Havas Lynx, a creative leader within the global Havas network. His enthusiasm for making healthcare advertising better has resulted in over 50 industry awards – helping two of his agencies win Agency of the Year at Cannes in the past three years.

Tim believes that celebrating the great ideas that have survived heavy regulations are vital in convincing creatives that healthcare is a means to do more meaningful work. He is honored to be a part of a jury that gets to decide the standard of work our industry should be striving towards. 

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? 

I think that before you can FEEL creative you have to really get to know the problem. It’s all about understanding the context, the science, and the opportunities in the brief. This is the part of the process that usually involves larger groups - planners, medical writers, strategists and accounts people.
But then, importantly, it’s time for the creatives to be left alone. There’s nothing more fruitless than a group brainstorm. In fact, the only thing that comes from “group gropes” is consensus. And that’s not going to end great.
It’s a simple process actually: If you leave creatives to do their thing, you’ll end up with interesting ideas. And if everyone in the team helps protect those ideas, you’ll end up with something magical.

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

Luckily, there’s been a massive shift in the quality of work within healthcare. When I first entered the pearly Pharma gates I thought most of the work was awful. Thank God for agencies like Langland though. They had a wonderfully talented group of creatives who were pushing to change that in the UK. I remember they did a powerful print campaign for Bayer’s Sativex. It made me realise that it’s possible to get a simple idea for a branded drug through regulatory.
Since the inclusion of healthcare categories into major advertising awards festivals, consumer agencies had started beating us at our own game. We had to get better as an industry. And I think we’re rising to the challenge. Agencies like Area 23 deserve a special mention here. Their work is being recognised outside of the healthcare bubble. They’re making healthcare a turn on for talented creatives.
The biggest trick is to focus on being a creative agency that just happens to work on healthcare briefs; rather than a healthcare agency trying to be creative.

What are some of the projects that you’ve worked on that you’re most proud of and why?  Could be anything.

I worked on a brief for an STI test kit that you use in the privacy of your own home. In hindsight, I realise how incredibly rare that sort of thing is (the brief, not STIs…they are rife). We had an interesting idea to create a mockumentary about a group of STI sniffer dogs that embarrassingly sniff people out in public. We worked with two great comedy directors on the script. It was loads of fun. And sadly, I’ve yet to hear another client talk about dildos and chlamydia on a conference call.
That project was my first brief after moving to the UK, so I will always remember it for the exciting experience it was.
More recently, here at Havas Lynx we’ve been pushing the level of our branded creative work. (Just because it’s regulated, doesn’t mean it has to be shit). I’m really proud of the work we’re making. It’s probably been my most rewarding year creatively -  to be a part of Havas Lynx winning Healthcare Agency of the Year at Cannes. It was never our goal, but it was a lovely side-effect of all our hard work. We’ve got some exciting projects in the pipeline, so keep an eye out.

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?

It happened spontaneously, and with a serious case of luck! I had won the South African Young Lions competition and found myself in Cannes for the festival. At the award ceremony, a project I had worked on had won. I ended up at the after party, and got to meet Andrew Spurgeon (ECD at Langland). He enticed me to make the big move. It was the best decision of my career.
It’s great to see so many talented creatives making the move to health. If you have the resilience for it, this industry can give you the means to make more meaningful work. From terminal cancer to organ donation to mental health – this is the category that can literally save lives.