Grand Jury Spotlight: Jesse Kates

An interview with Jesse Kates, EVP, Executive Creative Director at Concentric Health Experience...

USA | August 29, 2019

Each year, the Global Awards recruits some of the world’s most prominent award-winning industry creatives and thought leaders to serve on the Global Awards Grand Jury.
2019 Grand Jury member, Jesse Kates is EVP, Executive Creative Director for Concentric Health.  Jesse has been a creative leader in the healthcare space for over a decade. He comes to Concentric after 7 years within the FCB Health Network, championing innovative work that redefined what great pharma and health/wellness advertising can and should be. His clients have included Bayer, Novartis, GSK, Ely Lilly, Novo Nordisk, Biogen, Sanofi, and Boehringer Ingelheim to name a few. 

Jesse’s work has been internationally recognized with appearances in Luerzer’s Archive, multiple Cannes lions, Clios, LIAs, and Global Awards.

Global Awards: How about Pharma – has the landscape of Pharma advertising changed in the last few years and where do you see it going moving forward?

Jesse Kates: Pharma is finally catching up the idea that a person is dynamic entity – someone who changes constantly over time and in different contexts.  The generalizations we use to build traditional target profiles – even when they are well informed by conventional research methodologies – will increasingly give way too much more dynamically targeted (and much more effective) campaigns.
From a creative perspective, we are finally catching up to the idea that we need to be just as breakthrough and original in our work as any other type of advertising.  Why didn’t we do this earlier? The only excuse I can think of is that we used to be promoting a lot more brands that were the sole – or obviously far superior – solutions in disease states that desperately needed them. Maybe we didn’t have to try as hard? It’s not an excuse, but it might explain the phenomenon.  Thankfully – for the quality of the work – most of our brands don’t come with that advantage anymore.

Global Awards: How have empowered and informed patients changed the way Healthcare & Wellness brands connect with the consumer?

Jesse Kates: Patient choice and influence in their healthcare decisions has never been greater than it is today. And that trend is only going to continue to increase as more ‘me-too’ brands enter the market and policy and physician performance metrics increasingly favor patient satisfaction. But here’s the catch – many patients simply still aren’t comfortable fully disclosing with their physicians and asking them for brands they want.  It’s not that they aren’t disclosing, they are just doing it in their own familiar social environments with people who aren’t their own HCPs.  And lucky for us, many of these places are open digital forums that give us an incredible amount of data to inform the way we insert ourselves into those conversations.  

Global Awards: How has big data and AI helped advertisers hit the target for brands?

Jesse Kates: The short answer is that big data and AI make long-term and diffuse patterns visible to us.  By looking at these patterns in consumer behavior we can – with incredible accuracy – detect people displaying signs of different disease states, sometimes long before these disease states would be formally recognized and addressed.  Of course, this applies to people at different stages of their treatment journey as well.  These tools give us an unprecedented ability to tailor and target our communications with the most salient messages at the most salient times and places.

Global Awards: As you make your way through life, you encounter inevitable health issues with friends and family. Are there any diseases, issues, conditions that you have a yearning to work on?  Why?

Jesse Kates: I’ll answer this question from a public health perspective and a personal perspective – I am equally passionate about both.

From a public health perspective, addiction and obesity are both epidemics that need immediate and enduring solutions.  I have worked extensively in the addiction space and I am always seeking out new opportunities to make an impact there.  At CHX, I am incredibly fortunate to work with Novo Nordisk on truly changing the way we understand obesity and revolutionizing the way we treat it.  When you think about all the other disease states we deal with that start with obesity, not to mention the profound social impact the disease has on so many people, families and communities as a whole, the importance of this endeavor is enormous. And my excitement to be a part of it is equally huge.  

From a personal perspective – cancer.  Cancer is a terrible son of a bitch. It has been the source of suffering and heartbreak for so many people I love, and I care about.  Cancer is the enemy of all good things. I hope I live to see the day when it is wiped off the face of the earth and I hope – through creativity – I can play some small role in that.