We Can Be Sexy Too

Toby Pickford thumbnailHello, is that Terry Savage, the chairman of the Lions Festivals?

This is Toby Pickford here, Creative Director of Ogilvy CommonHealth Sydney. How’s it going? I hear health has been added to the largest and most prestigious annual event celebrating creative advertising and communications. This is great news! Finally we can stand side-by-side with our mainstream counterparts; the wall of health will come down, and creativity can be celebrated as one, whether it’s selling Viagra or Volkswagen.

Sorry, what was that? We won’t be celebrating on the same day? Oh, so health is a completely separate awards event? We go first? OK, a bit like a warm-up act, right? 


This is totally the wrong way to think about this. I could look at it as our time. Our time to really show the world and the most awarded creatives and their agencies on the planet that we are an amazing bunch of talented people who can tackle some of the most difficult and challenging problems and turn them into compelling communications. And what’s more, change lives!

That’s cool. Now we can show them that health can be SEXY! Not just mainstream…

Yes, that’s the way I should look at this… OK, I feel better now, special is good, special is SEXY.

Right, it’s on. Us against the rest of the world. Ogilvy CommonHealth united, seen as the most creative healthcare network. I can see it now—Cannes, the palm trees, the beach…

But how do we get there? (By plane of course—very funny, Toby.) How do we create work that will be worthy of a LION?

I am going to start by setting some goals:

  1. Drive for more inspiring briefs.
  2. Be fearless and push clients to be fearless too.
  3. Stay tuned to creativity from outside of the pharmaceutical industry.
  4. Be surprising in everything we do—make originality the norm and not just for special occasions.

That sounds good. Right, I suppose I better let Terry Savage know that he needs to make the stage a bit bigger next year because Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide are coming to CANNES to make health SEXY.

Questions? Comments? You can contact the author directly at blog@ochww.com.
Please allow 24 hours for response.

Also posted in Cannes Festival, Health & Wellness, Healthcare Communications, Personal Reflections | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Introducing Once-Monthly Tournamax?

Basketball PersonSo, like most of us, my experience spans multiple therapeutic areas. I’ve worked in the field of Rheumatology. Created campaigns in Oncology. Produced TV spots, print ads and RM programs in Pulmonology, Gastroenterology and Dermatology.

But I’ve been thinking over the last few weeks, what if our industry expanded to yet another fast-growing scientific field that sweeps the nation every year: Bracketology.

I’m sure someone, somewhere, is working on the drug to help. Therefore, I’ve taken the liberty of preparing the TV script so we’re locked and loaded for the DTC launch.

Open on the appropriate and ubiquitously RC-friendly activity of a Big Dance. An announcer would say…

Announcer: If you’re a college basketball fan and suffer from sleepless nights, indecision making your picks and general anxiety at the start of spring, you could be suffering from March Madness.

Once-monthly Tournamax can help. Only Tournamax provides clarity and faith to help you identify potential upsets, make sense of any Missouri Valley Conference entries and avoid a complete bracket implosion. And it’s not a steroid.

Tournamax is not for golf aficionados. Side effects may include sweaty palms during the Final Four, nausea if your alma mater loses early, and swollen egos. Tournamax can lead to random screams of “go” followed by a color, most commonly blue and orange. If a 16-seed beats a 1-seed, stop taking Tournamax immediately and contact your doctor.

It’s your bracket. It’s your office pool. It’s your Tournamax.

I’m telling you, if we can launch brands for Thrombocytopenia Purpura in Hematology, we got this.


Questions? Comments? You can contact the author directly at blog@ochww.com.
Please allow 24 hours for response.

Also posted in Direct-to-Consumer, Health & Wellness, Healthcare Communications, Marketing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Workday of the Dead

NEWS ALERT: “It has been established that persons who have recently become exhausted at work are returning to life and committing acts of mindless procrastination. A widespread investigation of offices, businesses, and agencies has concluded that these instances of “workplace zombies” have been increasing at an alarming rate, and are claiming more and more diligent victims. It’s hard for us here to be reporting this to you, but it does seem to be a fact…”

Okay, admit it. There are days when you feel like a workplace zombie. You show up to work at the crack of, well, okay, 9:30 and stare blankly at your computer screen as a list of daunting emails expands before your eyes. So, you shuffle off toward the kitchen bellowing the workplace zombie call: “CAFFEINE!!!” Usually, a good dose of coffee or tea will be enough to snap you out of it and get to the task at hand, however BEWARE! There are many other dangers lurking in the workplace that threaten to bring the zombie in you back out.

As an addendum to the CDC’s recent official public service announcement regarding their Zombie Preparedness Program http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/zombies.htm, here is an un-official Workplace Zombie Prevention checklist:

• Avoid Facebook at all costs
• Limit checking your personal email to 3 times per day
• Do not check your eBay auctions every 5 minutes
• Put the smartphone down. It is not playtime
• Unless you are a weatherman, there is no need to check the weather every 10 minutes
• Unless you are a stockbroker, there is no need to check the stocks every 2 minutes
• Unless you are a newscaster, there is no need to check the news every 5 minutes
• Twitter isn’t going anywhere. Stop looking at it
• Your friends and family miss you a lot, but there is no need to text them 100 times a day
• Talking to a co-worker for 45 minutes about your weekend plans does NOT count as working

If you have already succumbed to any of these dangers, and you find that you are currently a workplace zombie, please follow these steps to administer a cure:

• BRAAAINS!!! Use it, or lose it
• Take a short break, walk away from your computer
• Go outside for 5 minutes, get some fresh air
• Respond to pertinent emails and voicemails immediately
• Put your headphones on and crank up your favorite music
• Get involved and actively participate in meetings
• Motivation is contagious. Inspire your co-workers to be productive
• Love what you do. Put your heart into it. Be happy at the office, and it will show in your work

It is our responsibility to look out for each other and keep the workplace zombies at bay. If you know of any other dangers or cures regarding the workplace zombie, please respond to this post and report the action here immediately.


Also posted in behavior change, Great Ideas, Health & Wellness | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Think HR Is Boring?

Do you wince when you see HR calling on your phone? Just to prove that we are not without a sense of humor, here are some examples of real-life questions and answers that occurred during job interviews (not necessarily here, so don’t try and guess who said them).


1. Question: “Why did you leave your last job?”

     Answer: “I have a problem with authority.”

2. Question: “Tell us about a problem you had with a co-worker and how you resolved it.”

     Answer: “The resolution was we were both fired.”

3. Question: “Why should we hire you?”

     Answer: “I would be a great asset to the events team because I party all the time.”

4. Question: “Why are you currently seeking employment?”

     Answer: “My parents told me I need to get a job so that’s why I’m here.”

5. Question: “What are your assets (as in strengths)?”

     Answer: “Well, I do own a bike.”

6. Question: “Have you submitted your two weeks’ notice to your current employer?”

     Answer: “What is 2 week’s notice? I’ve never quit a job before—I’ve always been fired.”

7. Question (to the candidate): “Do you have any questions?”

     Answer: “Can we wrap this up fairly quickly? I have someplace I have to go.”

A few other interesting scenarios:

  • Candidate question:  “What is your company policy on Monday absences?”
  • Candidate question: “If I get an offer, how long do I have before I have to take the drug test?”
  • An applicant said she was a “people person” not a “numbers person” during her interview for an accounting position.
  • Applicant smelled his armpits on the way to the interview room.
  • When asked if he or she had experience with a certain programming language, the candidate said, “I don’t know, is it on my resume?”

For these and additional humorous interview situations, see:



Also posted in Human Resources | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment