April 20, 2019

If you want to understand the gap between creativity and data science in marketing, look no further than the creative brief. 

A good creative brief is two things: creative and brief. It’s the art of sacrifice. A primary audience. A customer insight. A single most-important message to communicate. And a handful of supporting facts, or reasons to believe. 

This single-mindedness makes a lot of sense to focus creative energy, especially when your goal is to tell one audience one story at a time. In practice, however, marketing’s art of sacrifice limits a brand’s a...

August 2, 2016

One of the recurring themes explored at Lions Health this year was empathy. The term was tossed around in all sorts of contexts – health bias, gaps in care, disease stigma, aging. For the most part, it was centered on better understanding between the health industry and people in health crisis. For me, as a creative leader and armchair strategist, empathy is most powerful in the context of connecting ideas to audiences.

Whether you call it empathy – or insight or understanding or human truth – our appreciation for what’s going on inside the minds of audiences...

September 10, 2015

If other brands communicated with customers the way healthcare brands do, how many customers would they have? Or lose?

More than 90 million Americans fail to act on important health information each year due to issues such as lack of understanding, embarrassment or fear, and information overload.

In order to put the issue in human terms, our agency decided to see what would happen when everyday people were confronted with a clinical rendition of the most commonplace brand experiences. GSW’s Speak People Experiment involved a team of prop artists, improvisation...

The recently unleashed Dove ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ and Kmart ‘Ship My Pants’ spots are two diametrically opposed approaches to creativity, both of which are pharma-ready. Dove tapped into a powerful human insight, creatively dramatized it, and made not one product mention (fair balance for what?). In turn they made a palpable brand connection with all of us. Kmart took an absolutely functional fact about their product, ingeniously recognized the echo of a verbal idiom, and said it completely square: ‘I can ship my pants’ is a technically accurate claim, is no...

June 10, 2011

The fine folks at PM360 recently listed out the Seven Deadly Sins of Healthcare Marketing. I contributed to an accompanying article and realized that there are sinful choices clients and agencies make every day that don’t fit neatly into our preconceived notions of “sin” — they seem completely innocent on the surface. Perhaps that is what makes these seven so damning to any client’s work and agency’s creative soul:

1.) Relying solely on traditional formats as a measure of an effective idea. Evaluating a campaign idea via a printed box on a page is neat and tid...

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© 2017 by David Sonderman