Best Pharma Ads: Cremating Paper Replicas Of Human Organs


Following up on last year’s Q&A, Klick Health Chief Creative Officer Rich Levy, also a former Pharma Lions Jury president. had some thoughts about the most striking pharma/healt/wellness ads to be celebrated at the upcoming Cannes Lions festival.  

As an added bonus, Levy brought along Roberta Raduan, Klick’s managing director of LatAm, who this year makes her debut on the Pharma jury.

“The second I heard that Roberta was going to be on the jury, I was, like, jumping and down. I was so happy for her,” says Levy.


“It’s a life-changing experience,” he says. “Year after year after year, seeing so much good work from around the world, you get inspired to do better and better and better…It pumps you up and gets you going for a good long while.”



Raduan, who has spent the past several weeks judging hundreds of works on the Cannes long list to get down to the short list from which the winners will be named next week, says the experience is “almost like you’re recreating how everything was created in your mind.” She says she imagines the agency briefing, “the conversations between planning and creativity” and the ensuing back and forth.

Although he hasn’t been on a Cannes Jury himself for half a decade or so, Levy says he still stays in touch with members of the three juries he was on. “We still share information, we still share campaigns. The people you meet inside that jury room become peers forever. It’s a very, very special bond you have.”

While last year, Levy cited cultural diversity, AI , and the mainstreaming of health and wellness as three trends to watch for at Cannes, this year he’s got his eyes set on female empowerment, authenticity (“almost the anti-AI”), and technology.

Female empowerment is number one, he says, giving the example of French telecommunications provider Orange’s “WoMen’s Football” campaign (agency: Marcel) in which highlights of spectacular men’s soccer action is revealed to be a special effects illusion. The players were actually women.

For authenticity, he points to “Paper Organs,” a campaign from the Taiwan Organ Sharing Registry & Patient Autonomy Promotion Center (agency: Leo Burnett), which aims to balance the Chinese requirement that bodies must have all their organs intact when cremated with the ability to donate organs upon death. The solution: replacing the donated parts with origami versions.

“It's an incredible piece of very authentic storytelling, but it’s also authentic to the culture, a piece of communication that only works in that part of the world. It’s meaningless in North America or other parts of the world,” Levy says.

Authenticity, Levy says, is “perhaps a pushback to AI.”

One the other hand, AI and machine learning are bringing technology to the foreground, but the campaigns he’s citing are not about the technology itself, but about “the technology delivering an incredible idea” --  in such forms as “new ways to diagnose patients, new ways to combat illiteracy, new ways to help women’s health.”

Levy gives an example from the Down Syndrome Association of the Argentine Republic, which used AI to come up with a “Promise Complexity Index” (agency: VML) timed to the country’s presidential election, which analyzed how hard it would be to fulfill candidates’ promises -- as opposed to the simplicity of getting rid of a law requiring those with Down’s to renew a disability certificate annually.

Also on the tech side, Klick itself has been shortlisted in the Early Stage Innovation category. (Raduan, by the way, can’t vote for Klick’s own entries). The Klick campaign, which has garnered nearly 4 billion media impressions worldwide, is for KVI Brave Fund’s Voice2Diabetes, a technology that detects type 2 diabetes from smartphone voice samples, applying the theory that changes in pitch and voice strength can be signifiers for diagnosing diabetes.

Noting that the rest of the world is catching up to North America in quality of pharma and health ads, Raduan says that the Pharma Lions Jury has “great ideas coming from everywhere in the world, and also a great quality of production and crafting and attention to details.”

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