cannes lions 2024

Health & Wellness Lions: Cannes 2024 Decoded

VML is awarded a Silver Lion while Ogilvy UK and adam&eveDDB win Bronze Lions

By Creative Salon

VML has won a Silver Lion at Cannes Lions 2024 for its 'Waiting To Live' campaign for NHS Blood and Transplant in the Health & Wellness Category.

The campaign launched in a bid to raise awareness of the need for more child organ donors, and saw children transformed into handmade dolls that were then placed in waiting rooms across the country. The intention was to promote conversation around paediatric organ donation and encourage more parents to consider adding their child to the register.

In the Health and Wellness category Ogilvy UK and adam&eveDDB also won Silver Lions for their respective 'The Melanoma Law' Skin Cancer UK and 'Sicker Than The Patients' Frontline19 campaigns.

'The Melanoma Law' campaign for Skin Cancer UK by Ogilvy UK advocated for a change to the 13-year-old Sunbed Regulation Act, now thirteen years old, calling on the UK government to mandate showing the risks of UV exposure on sunbeds and in salons. The work saw the brand place a physical copy of the Sunbed Regulation Act on a sunbed emitting the same amount of UV rays legally allowed.

A campaign for Frontline19 from adam&eveDDB 'Sicker Than The Patients', underlined how, in many cases, NHS staff are sicker than the patients they are treating, with over half of NHS workers suffering from poor mental health and one in four NHS staff having considered suicide.

The work aimed to drive donations for Frontline19’s counselling services, so the charity can continue to extend emotional support to as many affected NHS workers as possible - while also moving NHS welfare up the public agenda at the next general election.

The Grand Prix for the category was won by FCB Chicago and Dramamine for their 'The Last Barf Bag' campaign. The brand created a film dedicated to a product that Dramamine’s effective work has helped to make obsolete – the barf bag.

A total of 38 Lions were awarded in the Health and Wellness category: one Grand Prix, five Gold, 14 Silver and 18 Bronze.

The Judges said ...

Victoria Wright, CEO of Publicis Health UK, was one of the prestigious jurors and this is what she had to say...

Why did the winner win?

It was a stand-out entry from the beginning but was unlikely to have been an easy brief due to the subject matter which, at the very most, can be seen as low interest - a 75-year-old sickness prevention brand.

It was an integrated campaign and every detail was thought through and executed brilliantly. From the documentary through to the experiential elements. The new ways of using sick bags as a glove puppet, a chefs hat, a popcorn bag… kept the joke going and extended the reach of the campaign.   

It was entertaining. It used humour brilliantly and it was brave. It focussed on the effectiveness of the brand by not focussing on the brand; but instead on the barf bag becoming extinct.

It worked on so many levels and in the jury room it was a stand-out favourite for everyone from creatives to client.

Were there any trends you noticed in this year's category?

  • Long-form content (films) - across the board,  there were a number of long form films – up to five minutes (and longer). This is particularly interesting in the era of people’s attention span getting shorter and shorter. Most pieces were to be seen as a whole and couldn’t easily be cut up into shorter bite-sized pieces to be used in social.

  • Humour – In times of darkness and difficulty, humour comes to the fore and we saw this in several different entries – which is quite unusual and surprising  (particularly in this category). 

  • Change agents – More than just raising awareness there was a trend in work looking to change behaviour and more than this; policy.  

Based on the entries you reviewed - what advice would you give to anyone hoping to win next year?

It's really hard! There are a lot of good entries and your work has to be more than good, it must be outstanding. Fantastic creative is rarely enough.  Creativity needs to be shown across a number of elements (owned, paid AND earned) that build the story and the journey. Strong metrics make a difference. And think - would a client see how their brand has been elevated?

With a global jury (which we were lucky enough to have) we could question how a global campaign would have gone down in China, India, Africa or South America rather than just having a US or European view on it. On more than one occasion, the expertise in the room allowed us to think differently and some work was elevated and some wasn't. Make sure you are clear about any cultural references and why it works in the market it is intended for. What is funny in the UK can be distasteful to an Asian viewer.

Health and Wellness is a ‘Hot’ area with cars, watches, shoes and booze all making a play. If the work doesn’t have a clear rationale back to the brand’s values it can feel hollow and unbelievable.

Money is not (necessarily) the answer – some of the best work would not have been expensive to produce. Simplicity and a great idea are still key.

Follow Creative Salon's Cannes Lions 2024 coverage through our dedicated content section.


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