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New recommendations to stimulate braver and bolder communications

Cannes or Canned? report draws on expertise from within and beyond the pharmaceutical industry to make recommendations for pharma communicators

The Healthcare Communications Association (HCA) in partnership with 90TEN today announced the publication of Cannes or Canned? – a report that makes five key recommendations to fuel greater creativity and innovation in healthcare and scientific communications.

The recommendations, available now on the HCA website, are the result of an initiative, Cannes or Canned? that was started in 2018 after pharmaceutical communications missed out on a Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity for the second year in a row.

“Given that the pharmaceutical industry is powered by experimentation and discovery, healthcare should be leading the way when it comes to innovative communications,” said Edel McCaffrey, an HCA Executive Committee member and one of the driving forces behind Cannes or Canned?“That isn’t always the case, so we set up this initiative to find out two things: what is holding back our creativity, and what can we do to set it free?”

Cannes or Canned? brought together UK and internationally based senior communicators from seven pharmaceutical companies. With input and inspiration from innovators in industries including banking, fashion retail, artificial intelligence and toy marketing, they identified four key forces stifling innovation in communications and five recommendations for overcoming them.

The five key recommendations discussed in the report are:

  1. Create a culture that embraces innovation
  2. Empower and value brave, innovative people from within and beyond healthcare
  3. Strip back processes and streamline activities to enable communications that are agile and responsive to customers’ needs
  4. Get up close and personal with customers
  5. Put learning at the heart of healthcare communications

“As healthcare communicators we help to put the pharmaceutical industry’s life-changing discoveries into patients’ hands, but healthcare is changing fast and unless we think creatively and embrace innovation, we risk losing our voice,” said Peter Impey, Managing Director of 90TEN’s Communications division. “These recommendations are a recipe for making our communications braver, bolder and more creative, and I’m very excited to see where they take the healthcare communications sector.”

Healthcare communicators are invited to join the movement to open up creativity and innovation in healthcare communications:

Further press information contact:

Mike Dixon at the HCA


call: +44 (0)7799 865794

About Cannes or Canned?

Cannes or Canned? is an HCA initiative in partnership with 90TEN. It brought together UK and internationally based senior communicators and included representatives from seven pharmaceutical companies:

  • Philip Atkinson, Global Head, Scientific Communications – Oncology & Haematology, Roche
  • Paul Dixey, Multichannel Lead, Novartis UK
  • Lilianna Husseini, Director Communications, Oncology, Pfizer Global
  • Heidi LaPensée, Brand Lead, CNS, Sanofi UK
  • Catherine Priestley, Head of BioPharmaceuticals R&D Communications, Global Corporate Affairs, AstraZeneca
  • Mark Reale, Director of Corporate Affairs, UK & Ireland, Celgene
  • Bhavin Vaid, Head of Global Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, Ferring Pharmaceuticals
  • Edel McCaffrey, Independent Communications Consultant

29th November 2019



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