Welcome to a special edition of our "Inside Edelman" blog series, where we share exclusive insights from our esteemed Cannes Lions jury members. Join us as we delve into the complex world of judging, unveiling expert predictions and invaluable brand advice.

In this piece, we hear from Wendy Chan, a member of the awarding jury for the Pharma Lions category and the Chief Creative Officer of Edelman China. Wendy shares insights on evaluating pharmaceutical campaigns, emphasizing the critical importance of creativity and innovative problem-solving.

As a jury member for the Pharma Lions category, what criteria will you be looking for when evaluating campaigns? Can you provide some insights into the judging process?

In the realm of Pharma, the criterion for evaluating creative work remains the same as in other categories. However, the pharmaceutical industry faces unique challenges due to stringent regulations and the need to communicate with a specific target audience. The complex nature of diseases or mechanisms of action can make it difficult for people outside the industry to fully grasp these challenges.

In my perspective, the top priority is creativity. I define creativity as the ability to establish new connections between ideas, such as discovering new insights, proposing innovative problem-solving approaches, or fostering new collaborations. This emphasis on creativity allows us to push boundaries and explore novel ways of addressing pharmaceutical challenges.

Next, we assess whether the ideas effectively solve the problem at hand and how they do so. The "how" aspect holds particular significance. For example, if we come across a case where wearing glasses enables blind people to see, we would want to understand the mechanism behind this breakthrough. Additionally, we consider the level of difficulty involved in implementing the idea.

The Creative Edelman 8 scale is an internal evaluation system that incorporates an 8-point grading structure to critically assess creative work, particularly focusing on earned creativity that drives trust through action. It proves especially useful for distinguishing between work that falls within the middle range, ranging from 3 (insightful) to 6 (creates trust through action). This scale aids in objectively assessing the quality and impact of creative ideas.

How can pharmaceutical companies effectively engage with Gen Z, a demographic known for its skepticism towards traditional advertising? What strategies or approaches have you seen work well in reaching and resonating with this audience?

Like other categories, it's important to tap into Gen Z's passion points, focusing on interaction rather than education. If feasible, involve them directly to provide an experiential aspect. Simplify complex mechanisms of action and explore fresh ways to convey familiar messages. Look for hidden insights and cultural connections that resonate.

In addition to Gen Z, there's a rising trend of connecting with the 40+ demographic. They face pressures from parenting, work, and self-care. The bar for well-being has been raised, and this group requires attention and has accumulated a certain level of wealth.

Sustainability and ethical considerations are increasingly important in today's world. How do you see these factors playing a role in the pharmaceutical industry? Are there any innovative campaigns that have stood out to you in this regard?

It's gratifying to witness the extension of equality in various forms within the pharma industry. This includes equal access to information and diagnoses, addressing subconscious biases in patient treatment, and promoting equality in overall well-being.

The growing concern for emotional health is evident, as we strive to overcome the shame and stigma associated with certain diseases.

In terms of sustainability, I recall a few years ago the emergence of paper packaging as an alternative to plastic. This year, I came across a compelling case highlighting the importance of responsible disposal of unused medication, offering a sustainable solution.

Together, these advancements reflect the industry's commitment to equality, emotional well-being, and sustainable practices.

What advice would you give to pharma brands looking to create campaigns that not only comply with regulations but also drive meaningful impact and engage their target audience?

The real question lies in the profound impact a meaningful contribution can have on a brand. It serves as a powerful tool to effectively engage stakeholders and the government, fostering understanding and trust in your brand. Trust holds immense significance in the pharma realm, as it significantly influences choices, particularly in the presence of similar or generic drugs.

Furthermore, when a brand is genuinely rooted in a meaningful purpose, it naturally resonates with audiences and garners earned media due to the authentic connection it establishes through its values and causes. By sincerely embracing and living its purpose, your brand can effortlessly attract positive media attention, which in turn, amplifies its impact and reach.

Wendy Chan is Chief Creative Officer of Edelman China.