Notes from the Jury: Laura Florence

By Alixandra Rutnik Posted on Apr 07, 2020

"No purpose is better than saving lives and the Pharma category has this message branded in its DNA"

Judging for The One Show 2020 and the ADC 99th Annual Awards was just about to begin, with hundreds of creatives from all across the globe coming to New York and Puerto Rico for several weeks of deciding the most Pencil and Cube-worthy work of the past year.

COVID-19 had other plans.

Never ones to be deterred, we at The One Club for Creativity quickly put together a course of action that allowed for the majority of the submissions to be debated and discussed online, while a small group of New York-based creatives viewed work in person. Our goal has been to maintain the integrity of our two main awards while erring on the side of safety, and our phenomenal judges have been more than accommodating.

Each year, we like to share some of the judges' views coming out of the various jury rooms. This year, however, those rooms are more likely to be virtual.

Laura Florence, Executive Creative Director at Havas Health & You in Sao Paolo brings us updates from Brazil, specifically on the One Show 2020 Health, Wellness, and Pharma discipline.

How is this COVID craziness affecting you in Sao Paulo?

People like me who work for a international company have already adopted the work from home routine, but it is not exactly the reality for the majority of the workforce. Despite learning from other countries, Brazilians tend to be stubborn– there is so much fake news hindering the process of social isolation. Many offices are still open and operating regularly. I am part of an anonymous group that created a campaign to ask people to stay at home. It's called @distanciasalva "Distance Saves," because even educated people were not taking things seriously. Our president has been doing a lot to reduce isolation. He had been criticized inside and outside the country, but despite that, he has loyal followers. Within the communication industry, the mood is of apprehension, not to mention fear. Many agencies have already lost large budgets and have started firing people.

Remote judging– what's your take?

I would prefer the two models of judging to be combined– remote and in person. It's interesting to see the work without any interference from another jury member– to see how it impacts me on the spot. But it's also crucial to exchange opinions and learn about social contexts that only a person from that country can give me. It is excellent to hear other judges’ points of view– I'm fascinated to see how each piece of work affects people differently. We are not a target audience for all the campaigns, so it is crucial to understand that some work will have a stronger impact on certain people. I am not a shy person, and I have no problem with group discussions. But I do realize that not everyone likes a dynamic where they have to share their ideas. Combining the two formats is essential.

Pharma advertising has had a long history of not being particularly cool or sexy, but a lot has changed in recent years. Why do you think that creativity has blossomed in a field once famous for dry disclaimers and legal copy?

I think COVID-19 is going to change everything, even this thought. We have never been more concerned about our health than right now. More than ever, brands need a true purpose. People are no longer only buying products for their benefits, but also for how it was produced, distributed, and how the brand creates a positive impact on society. Brands with a positive agenda have gained more and more loyal consumers. Why am I saying all this? Because no purpose is better than saving lives and the Pharma category has this message branded in its DNA. The job of Pharma communication is now to bring more humanity into doctor-patient relationships, because we are beginning to realize the importance this has on emotional health. Big themes include mental health, the naturalization of chronic conditions, and emotional support for patients. Science and care must go together.

What is trending in the health, wellness, and Pharma discipline?

The subject of mental health is a big theme that is being discussed way beyond psychiatric offices. Another trend is the naturalization of chronic diseases such as AD, ME, Crohn's disease, HIV, etc. We have to stop only talking about the cure, and also talk about how to make the patient become like a regular person in society. I' ve been seeing a lot of work that focuses on helping to diagnose these diseases– thanking doctors. But the trend I like the most is that of emotional support for all treatments. Health professionals are realizing that care goes beyond a correct diagnosis and an appropriate medication. Caring for a patient means thinking about them every moment outside the hospital or doctor's office too. And to that, communication has a lot to add.

"Health professionals are realizing that care goes beyond a correct diagnosis and an appropriate medication. Caring for a patient means thinking about them every moment outside the hospital or doctor's office too."

Out of all the work you have judged so far– what is your top pick?

It is difficult to choose just one. I haven't placed an order for those who impacted me the most– that will be my next step. I liked "Memory Lane” by Accenture, which fits the trend I talked about before– taking care of mental health. "The Urban Eye Test" by McCann is another excellent piece of work that helps diagnoses. The already known "See Sound" by Area 23 and "The Tampon Book" by Scholz & Friends Berlin are wonderful too.

You are the co-founder of an organization that empowers creative women in Brazil. Tell us a little about MORE GRLS, and what it has achieved in the Brazilian landscape.?

MORE GRLS is one of my favorites stories. Two years ago, I and my partner Camila Moletta decided to stop feeling outraged and do something to change the communication industry. Not knowing it was possible, an online platform was built from scratch in only six months. After one year, MORE GRLS became the most significant female creative community in Brazil and perhaps in the world. They founded an Institute. They intermediated more than 35 creative hires (that we know of)– four in leadership roles. They gave 20 lectures and hosted five events. Their Instagram has almost 12,000 followers. They put together CEOs and interns. In a few months, they will host a Podcast and lead original research on agency culture. They appeared in more than 30 press articles. We learned how to ask for help, about the power of connections, and about the power of the female community. We also learned that not everyone will help you and that you will find haters where you least expect to, which makes you feel like giving up every day. It's a taxing physical, mental, and intellectual load. We should be in Austin. We should be speaking at SXSW 2020. We are white, upper-middle-class women in leadership roles. Maybe if we were black women, born in a less affluent community, we would not have succeeded, even with all the effort. That's why this year, our main objective is to talk about the Meritocracy Myth.

And for 2021, the big goal is to finish version 2.0 of the platform in English and in Spanish and to expand to LATAM and USA through a partnership with local initiatives. We believe in collaboration more than authorship, and we will connect with local voices and offer our tools.


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