Taren Grom, Editor
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PUBLISHER Lisa Banket EDITOR Taren Grom CREATIVE DIRECTOR Marah Walsh DIRECTOR OF SALES Darlene Kwiatkowski CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Diane Hoffman Virginia Kirk Denise Myshko Kim Ribbink Deborah Ruriani Lynda Sears Copyright 2002 by PharmaLinx LLC, Titusville, NJ Printed in the U.S.A. Volume Two, Number Two PharmaVoice is published eight times per year by PharmaLinx LLC, P.O.Box 327, Titusville, NJ 08560. Postmaster: Send address changes to PharmaVoice, P.O. Box 327, Titusville, NJ 08560. PharmaVoice Coverage and Distribution: Domestic subscriptions are available at $106 for one year (8 issues). Foreign subscriptions: 8 issues US$220. Contact PharmaVoice at P.O. Box 327, Titusville, NJ 08560. Call us at 609.730.0196 or FAX your order to 609.730.0197. Contributions: PharmaVoice is not responsible for unsolicited contributions of any type. Unless other wise agreed in writing, PharmaVoice retains all rights on material published in PharmaVoice for a period of six months after publication and reprint rights after that period expires. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Change of address:Please allow six weeks for a change of address. Send your new address along with your sub scription label to PharmaVoice, P.O. Box 327, Titusville, NJ 08560. Call us at 609.730.0196 or FAX your change to 609.730.0197. Email: email@example.com. IMPORTANT NOTICE: The post office will not forward copies of this magazine. PharmaVoice is not responsi ble for replacing undelivered copies due to lack of or late notification of address change. Advertising in PharmaVoice: To advertise in Pharma Voice please contact our Advertising Department at P.O.Box 327, Titusville, NJ 08560, or telephone us at 609.730.0196. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.pharmalinx.com THE FORUM FOR THE INDUSTRY EXECUTIVE Volume 2 . Number 2 Send your letters to feedback@pharma linx.com. Please include your name, title, company, and business phone number. Let ters chosen for publication may be edited for length and clarity. All submissions become the property of PharmaLinx LLC.
Where has creativity gone? That’s the question that 18 healthcare ad agency executives address in this month ‘s Forum — The Creative Challenge. They are almost unanimous in their collective thinking: creativity within the healthcare arena is on life support. Some say this is an area that always has been weak, others say the down ward spiral is more recent. Either way these executives give voice to their frustrations and suggest ways to improve the creative process. Agency creative directors want the industry to know that “creative” can no longer be “swept under the carpet” or be an “add on” to the myriad services that their organization offers clients. Creative think ing and creative strategy must be a priori ty, not an afterthought. Creativity is the “service” that they can offer clients that clients can’t do for themselves. Agency executives conclude that there needs to be a paradigm shift in attitude and attention. Agency creative directors and presi dents assume some of the blame, saying for too long there has been complacency sur rounding this core competency. After all, they say, “we are supposed to be advertising experts, we should be going to the client with the confidence of our conviction sup ported by sound thinking and market research.” They believe it is their responsibility and their obligation to work around the various outside barriers that can impede the creative process, whether the road blocks are thrown up by their clients or by FDA guidelines. For these agency executives, good cre ative means having extremely strong cre ative leadership within an agency and the agency must have “unswerving standards” to its commitment. But this cannot be a philosophy that is merely given lip service, “creativity should be the philosophy by which agencies live, breathe, eat, and sleep.” Concurrently, agencies must hire people who really believe they are on a “mission to do really great advertising and don’t toler ate anything less.” The industry needs champions, creative and management executives, who are will ing to “step up and be bold forwardthink ing leaders” — leaders who are not afraid to go to bat for the creative process; leaders who are not satisfied with the lowest com mon denominator; leaders who crave a fla vor other than “vanilla”; leaders who are willing to stand up for good, strategic, solid ideas; leaders who are not afraid to present original, edgy, and provocative communications; leaders who can teach and persuade their clients to accept outof thebox thinking. Agencies are in the business of promot ing and persuading, and according to one executive, “we have done a very good job without realizing it of promoting and per suading our audience to believe that the cre ative really doesn’t matter all that much.” Good, strong, grounded creative is a strategic weapon in and of itself. Agency executives say it’s time to stop blaming the client. The time has come to start looking internally at ways to more effectively wield one of the most powerful pieces of artillery they have in their arsenal. Taren Grom Editor W The best ideas may never see the light of day,but that doesn’t mean that the creative process can deviate from an unswerving commitment to developing and executing the highest quality product strong creative thinkers and strategists are capable of producing. 3 PharmaVOICE M a r c h 2 0 02