Grand Jury Spotlight: David Ponce de Leon

David Ponce de Leon, Executive Creative Director, Ogilvy Australia, chats with the Global Awards...

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.
David Ponce de Leon is Executive Creative Director for Ogilvy Australia. He began his career as a designer, eventually moving into art direction and honing his craft at agencies ranging from large multinationals to small independent shops, including George Patterson Y&R, Leo Burnett, Lifelounge and BD Network. Before joining Ogilvy, he served as Group Creative Director of McCann Melbourne.

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

David Ponce de Leon: Immensely. However, I don’t believe we are even scratching the surface of what data and AI can do yet. It’s a work in progress that keeps getting better and better, so the ideas need to keep getting better and better to catch up or keep pace. We need more education and more provocation.

Global Awards: What new trends in healthcare advertising have you seen emerge in the past year? 

David Ponce de Leon: Use of technology is one of them. I’ve seen some amazing stuff in some of the most recent shows which is simply spectacular. 

Global Awards: How has advertising in the healthcare wellness sphere evolved in order to be millennial-friendly?

David Ponce de Leon: It feels like healthcare and wellness brands are moving into a space where they are trying really hard to make people’s lives better in way that goes beyond the product. I believe that to capture the hearts and minds of millennials brands you need to do this and to add usefulness and utility to the mix.

Global Awards: How has mobile affected the advertising and marketing mix in the health sphere? 

David Ponce de Leon: Massively. I mean, our mobile devices are incredibly powerful tools. One of my favourite ideas of this year is Huawei Mobile ‘Story Sign’ by FCB Inferno in the UK. 

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?

David Ponce de Leon: I believe mental health is the big issue of the next decade and brands who manage to contribute to the conversation in a relevant way and hopefully bring about some change or some relief are the brands who will succeed. Connected to this is the issue of addiction, specially alcohol and prescription medication. ‘Prescribed to Death’ by Energy BBDO blew my mind last year. I think it’s one of the best ideas I’ve ever seen, period. 

Global Awards: What creative work on behalf of brands both wellness and/or pharma have you seen recently that are breakthrough in creative and effective?

David Ponce de Leon: As I said, I’m a big fan of Huawei’s ‘Story Sign’ and even though Huawei is a mobile company and not a wellness brand they managed to be category relevant by addressing an issue that matters to people. It is that simple, brands who want to matter in culture need to embrace passions or address tensions on behalf of their consumers. Make them feel they matter. Their lives matter. And we get it.

Global Awards: This is more of awards and advertising question.  There seems to be varying opinions about the nature of the content awarded top honors at Healthcare Awards show 5-10 years ago, and what tends to win in today’s competitions.  There are some people that believe the bar is being raised, and there are some in the industry that believe the everyday work is getting outshined by causes.  What are your thoughts?

David Ponce de Leon: This is a really interesting question. But there’s two parts to it. I believe the bar is being raised nevertheless because healthcare and pharma ideas seem to be more insightful, more elaborate, with more moving parts and also more technology led than ever before. Which helps raise the bar of not only healthcare advertising but of the whole industry. But the issue of causes outshining everyday work is real, it affects all award shows and I’ve been very vocal against it. Causes, and I mean, cause advertising being produced on behalf of a cause or charity (and not a brand supporting a cause) needs to be separated from the rest of the work and judged in its own category. Not only that, it needs to be forbidden to enter in other categories which are not cause related. If you break the rules, you’ll see your entry disqualified. Award shows need to do their part and rather than chase additional entry fees, enforce the rules and allow the judges to disqualify entries which break those rules. Quite simply, the degree of difficulty it’s not the same and it’s a lot easier to get emotionally involved as a judge with a cause that it is to a product or service brand, which biases your opinion.