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DDB Remedy is a creative agency that focuses
on health communication.
We live and breathe what we do, working closely with our clients to understand their brands and what to say about them.
We think, play and work hard to make sure our campaigns stand out, and we care deeply about the end users of the brands too.
Our aim is to help everyone lead greater lives.
“It is insight into human nature that is the key
to the communicator’s skill.”
We mix science and creativity to make great campaigns.
Sometimes you’ll find us making TV ads to drive people to consult their HCP, sometimes we’re writing detail aids to extol the benefits of chemotherapy, sometimes we’re educating doctors and patients alike on rare diseases, sometimes we’re creating content to help doctors encourage adherence.
And when we’re not at our desks, we might be chatting to teenagers living with HIV, learning about opioid dependency from addiction specialists, liaising with doctors on blood glucose management…the list goes on.
We keep it simple – doing Great Stuff is what drives us.
Great creative stuff that demonstrates the talent at DDB Remedy,
and celebrates the positive responses we get from
clients, HCPs and patients.
If you’d like to know more, and find out what
Great Stuff feels like, why not drop us an email?
You can also view our current
career opportunities here.
Welcome to our home. Come and say hello.
Getting here from where you are will take you:
Our ideal candidate is someone who isn’t afraid of science and has a creative side.
If you would love to communicate science in a creative way, or would love to add a sprinkling of science to your creative work, get in touch.
Anyone who wants to be part of doing something that helps improve people's lives
Anyone who wants to work in a talented team with great people
Anyone who knows and understands the value of great communication and campaigns
Anyone who has passion for communicating about new, potentially life changing remedies
Anyone who loves to work creatively and isn’t afraid to take on a 'sciency' brief – we’ve got people to help with that!
We like to keep busy.
Have a read about everything we’ve been getting up to at DDB Remedy.
We kickstarted our Easter week at DDB Remedy by raffling off a giant golden Easter egg to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
Luckily for us, the lucky raffle ticket drawn was coincidentally won by someone on holiday – so we smashed the egg and shared it around.
In case that wasn’t enough sugar, we further upped the ante with some guessing games to boost donations. Our ‘Count the Eggs’ jar had everyone’s heads spinning, with guesses ranging from 200 to 900 eggs. Unbelievably, the winner of the ‘Count the Chicks’ category was out by just 1 little chick!
Special thank-you’s to our office bakers who donated perfect chocolate flapjacks and a triple chocolate birds nest cake as prizes. Deliciousness personified.
Our combined efforts raised just over £100 – many thanks to everyone who donated.
Like many industries, working in Health Communications can be stressful. So, we’ve been busy brushing up on how to ‘perform under pressure’, starting with a training workshop.
There was some immediate pressure on the night as we had to navigate our way to the refreshments and then secure some front row seats. The session was run by NABS, an employee support organisation for those in advertising and media. This particular ‘masterclass’ was hosted by none other than Nigel Redman, ex-England rugby player and current head of Performance for British Swimming. At over 6ft 5, with matching cauliflower ears and more than a few battle scars from his years in the scrum, when Nigel speaks, you listen.
Once settled, Nigel quickly hit his stride with some insightful stories and engaging examples of how we can balance our lives to keep us happy and healthy. One such example was the ‘happiness equaliser’. He asked us to imagine six sliders in front of us, each relating to a different area of our lives. Those were: Fun, Family, Learn, Love, Support and Work. He asked us to plot where each currently sat, on a scale of one to five, to help us visualise where we might need to readjust. Needless to say, there were some surprises.
We then worked in small groups on scenarios where we were the head coach of a sports team. Each exercise presented multiple answers, which then led to a healthy group debate on the right approach for the best outcome. Wrapping up, Nigel offered a few gems. In particular, he told us to ‘Make sure you know your purpose, and stay true to it’, saying it should drive our day-to-day actions and help with difficult decision making. And the last – ‘Great teams learn to love each other and hold each other accountable’ – was chest bumping stuff, we all thought.
Session over, we each held the other accountable for getting us to the nearest pub to discuss our learnings from the night.
Advertising is a wonderful, exciting, creative career, but can be challenging – especially for working parents. Many surveys have reported that the pressures of being a working parent often leads to many choosing to leave advertising as they are looking for a career where they can better juggle their work-life balance. So how does the advertising industry retain the best and brightest talent once they become parents?
A number of people at DDB Remedy are working parents and we asked their views – both mothers and fathers – on how they manage to balance looking after a child with the busy working lifestyle of an advertising agency.
The main feedback from most of the parents was the challenge of balancing both your professional and home lives. A planner from our strategy team said, “A routine is helpful; I try to always have breakfast and dinner with the kids. These are two high-quality moments we all cherish, and it helps us start and finish the day in a good mood.”
She also touched upon the importance of flexibility in an agency. “There is the ability in certain circumstances to work from home in the morning or be off in the afternoon, so I can drop my daughter off at school.” This was echoed by a senior director on the accounts team, who said, “The agency provides me with flexibility about how I work, enabling me to do nursery drop-offs or pick-ups. As long as I do my work and do it well that’s all that really matters.
“It helps that the vast majority of the people in leadership roles in the agency have children – so they ‘get it’. The agency/network also provides a scheme to buy extra holiday which I imagine for most parents is quite useful given the holiday commitments having children puts on you.”
With examples including a wide range of support schemes after the birth of a child, working part-time, or flexible hours of employment, there is support and guidance in place for parents to juggle the extra demands brought on by being a parent. The friendly face of HR is always ready to talk to parents at DDB. This means the approach at the agency towards each parent is also highly personal; “DDB helps and understands parents because everyone is down to earth and tries to help you through difficult times.”
At a time where a survey of working mothers in advertising reported that 94% of them felt that the industry fails to accommodate their needs, the approach at DDB is both refreshing and impressive. This can best be summed up by our managing partner; “In general the key to the support is the culture. It feels as though it’s okay to be a parent at DDB Remedy, which has not been the case in other agencies that I have worked in.”
Over the festive period, we decided to wish a Merry Christmas to Winnicott, plus the babies and families they support, and to give them a present in the form of a fundraising Christmas game –
Elfy Delivery Christmas game premise: Leading up to Christmas Day, Santa is completing his deliveries when a turbulent sky causes the presents to fall from his sleigh. He needs help collecting all the presents, so a Christmas cannon is erected to fire his elves over the rooftops and enable them to quickly rescue the scattered gifts. Christmas is saved! For every 10 games played, we’d donate £10 to Winnicott.
Many elves were fired across rooftops, and as of January, all the presents were found and delivered. Santa’s final task was to deliver the money that we raised from the game to The Winnicott Foundation.
Our thoughts on the latest healthcare and creative industry updates.
Interested in what we have to say?
Why not get in touch to chat about it.
In the final week of March, passers-by in Central London noticed a strange and unsettling sight: 84 men, faces covered, standing silently on the rooftops of office towers as if they were about to leap to their deaths. In the same week, DDB-ers were met with the same grim sight near the usually welcoming café.
These spectral apparitions were in fact life-size sculptures – each one a poignant reminder of the 84 lives lost each week to suicide.
We take the wellbeing of our DDB-ers very seriously. Indeed, health and communication are the life force of everything we do here. So we were proud to stand by our sister company adamandeveDDB with the launch of Project 84, their second campaign for CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably), a charity dedicated to preventing male suicide.
Mental illness and suicide among both genders is associated with significant stigma and underfunding of healthcare and support resources for those directly affected and their families. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK – not road traffic accidents, cancer or smoking-related illnesses. CALM says that three of every four suicide victims are men.
“As a society we have to move past embarrassment and awkwardness, we have to face this awful issue, discuss it and actively work to stop it.”
Not easy to read, much less think about. But underpinning the campaign was hope. The hope that by telling the stories of each life lost, each of us can better understand the complexities of depression and suicide, and be part of the movement for change.
adamandeveDDB collaborated with the internationally–renowned artists Mark Jenkins and Sandra Fernandez to create 84 individual figures that were installed on top of ITV’s Southbank buildings for the week. Each individual story was hosted on the Project 84 website. Project 84 also launched an online petition drive to persuade Britain’s government to take action to improve suicide prevention and bereavement support. The sculptures were out on Monday morning. By the afternoon, the petition had more than 80,000 signatures.
Difficult subjects challenge us. Scare us. Change us. But change doesn’t happen unless we say something and take a stand. The Project 84 campaign did what it was meant to. It got the conversation started. Got people thinking and talking about precious lives lost and how we can support those who need it. Change is coming. And we are so proud to be a part of it.
For information and/or support, visit CALM.
All were believed to have had a neurological condition which alters the electrical activity of the brain – a condition better known as epilepsy.1
So, what exactly is epilepsy?
Perhaps the best way to answer this to explain what it isn’t.
Epilepsy isn’t, for instance, a sign of demonic or spiritual possession, as was once believed. In fact, the Greek origin of the term “epilēpsia” translates as “To lay hold of, seize upon, attack”.2
Epilepsy also isn’t just one condition.
It is, in fact, comprised of over 40 different conditions3 – meaning two people with epilepsy can both have conditions characterised by completely separate features.
So, what unites all these different types of epilepsy?
Epilepsy is defined in the medical dictionary as:
To help with our definition, I’ve picked out the words ‘recurrent’ and ‘abnormal electrical activity’.
Let’s take those in reverse order.
‘Abnormal electrical activity’ – otherwise known as ‘seizures’ – refers to large groups of neurons in the brain that fire at the same time.5
In more technical terms, a seizure is produced by neuronal hyperexcitability (neurons firing in large numbers) and hyper-synchronicity (neurons firing in the same direction).5
A thought experiment will help illustrate the concepts of neuronal hyperexcitability and hyper-synchronicity.
Imagine finding yourself at a busy traffic intersection in Mumbai.
In every direction you look, cars, tuk–tuks, and eager passers-by whizz past you in a hurry. Closing your eyes, the sound of motors, horns and the general commotion of a busy crossroads is all that can be heard.
Imagine this is the brain in its normal state and the people in this thought example represent the millions of neurons carrying messages to different areas of the brain.
Now imagine that for every car, tuk–tuk, and passer-by at your traffic junction, we add another – effectively doubling the number of people at our already busy intersection.
Furthermore, imagine everyone at your intersection starts moving in the same direction.
This is what happens inside the brain of someone experiencing a seizure – we have more neurons (hyperexcitability) moving in a synchronised direction (hyper-synchronicity), resulting in abnormal electrical activity in the brain.5
When viewed on an electroencephalogram (EEG), a non-invasive device for measuring the electrical activity of the brain, we see large ‘spikes’ appearing at regular intervals, indicating the event of a seizure.
A central facet of understanding epilepsy is that any area of the brain can be affected. The symptoms exhibited are often a direct reflection of the impaired function of the corresponding brain area.6 Using a form of partial seizure (a seizure only affecting one hemisphere of the brain) as an example, frontal lobe epilepsy results in uncontrollable muscle movements – reflecting the key function of the temporal lobe in controlling motor function.7
Returning to our definition of epilepsy, the term ‘recurrent’ was also highlighted as a key feature of the condition. It is generally agreed that an individual must experience at least two seizures before they are diagnosed as having epilepsy.8
However, unlike frontal lobe seizures, many forms of epilepsy do not manifest themselves in ways that are obvious to the individual themselves, or to an onlooker, making diagnosis very difficult.
Here we face a major challenge.
A good example of these ‘hidden’ forms of epilepsy can be seen in individuals who experience recurrent ‘absence’ seizures.
Absence seizures, a form of ‘generalised’ seizure (a seizure that affects numerous areas of the brain), are a form of epilepsy that results in a brief loss of consciousness. They are characterised by a ‘blank’ look in the individual’s face and a fluttering of their eyelids but, surprisingly, motor control remains unimpaired during the seizure.9,10
An individual experiencing an absence seizure will continue standing or walking during the epileptic episode and may have the appearance of ‘daydreaming’.10 As absence seizures predominantly affect children, many cases are misunderstood as daydreaming in class, or having a lack of focus.
Recognising forms of epilepsy that are not characterised by marked symptomatic traits represents one of many challenges encountered by epilepsy researchers today. Moreover, expanding public awareness of epilepsy, reducing misunderstanding and fear of the condition, is an additional challenge currently faced by patients with epilepsy.
In a 2012 survey conducted in Saudi Arabia, over half of people asked (N= 398) attributed the cause of epilepsy to spiritual possession.11 While this figure sounds shocking, it indicates the need for urgent action in epilepsy education, as many parts of the world still associate the condition with stigma, fear, and superstition.
Appreciating that epilepsy is, in fact, a complex array of conditions resulting from neurological processes of the brain – and therefore open to innovative therapeutic interventions – is a message of understanding and hope we can all take away with us.
1. The Mighty: 9 Famous People You Probably Didn’t Know Had Epilepsy. Available from http://investors.gilead.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=69964&p=irol-earnings. Accessed December 2017.
2. Dictionary: Origin of epilepsy. Available from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/epilepsy. Accessed December 2017.
3. Epilepsy Action: Epilepsy facts, figures and terminology. Available from https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/press/facts. Accessed December 2017.
4. Oxford Dictionaries: epilepsy. Available from https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/epilepsy. Accessed December 2017.
5. Hoppe M, et al. EEG in Epilepsy. In: Lozano, A.M., Gildenberg, P.L., and Tasker, R.R., 2009. Textbook of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery. Berlin: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. pp.2575-2585.
6. Hermann B, Seidenberg M. Epilepsy and Cognition. Epilepsy Curr 2007;7(1):1.
7. Kellinghaus C, Luders HO. Frontal lobe epilepsy. Epileptic Disord 2004;6:223.
8. Epilepsy Society: how epilepsy is diagnosed. Available from: https://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/how-epilepsy-diagnosed#.WjAuHVVl-Ul. Accessed December 2017.
9. Blumenfeld H. Consciousness and epilepsy: why are patients with absence seizures absent? Prog Brain Res 2005;150:273.
10. Epilepsy foundation: Absence Seizures. Available from: https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/types-seizures/absence-seizures. Accessed December 2017.
11. Obeid T, et al. Possession by ‘Jinn’ as a cause of epilepsy (Saraa): A study from Saudi Arabia. Seizure 2012;21(4):245–249.
It’s 1665 and Newton is home in Lincolnshire away from the Great Plague of London. In a particularly reflective mood, he thinks: What are colours and where do they come from? Is the light without or the light within? Is an object inherently red or is this just how we perceive it?
So, in classic mad, Newton style, he pokes a knife into his eye.
“I tooke a bodkine & put it betwixt my eye & [the] bone as neare to [the] backside of my eye as I could: & pressing my eye [with the] end of it… there appeared severall white darke & coloured circles.”
But this doesn’t tell him much about colours.
So, he takes a prism, puts it in his dark room with a little light creeping in from the outside. The stream of light shatters through the prism to make a rainbow on the wall – what Newton called “a coloured image of the sun.”
This wasn’t anything new. At the time people believed white light was given by God – it was holy. It was actually the prism that was ‘muddying’ the light.
The genius of Newton was to hold up a second prism to the blue light. If the prism was doing the ‘muddying’ then there would be more colour or another rainbow. But there wasn’t. The light stayed blue.
So Newton inferred that the rainbow was coming from the light itself. Light is a physical thing in the physical world.
But not everyone was happy.
The romantic poet John Keats said Newton took all the poetry out of the rainbow.
Another romantic poet, Goethe, also had an experience with colour. One spring, after turning away his gaze from a bed of yellow crocuses, he experienced a flash of violet – and came to conclude that our perception of colour begins in the world but finishes in the mind.
Hundreds of years later, we now know that there is some truth to this.
Scientists understand that colour has an objective reality, but that it’s also a trick of the mind, and all to do with perception.
But how differently do we see things? And what are we missing out on?
Turns out, a lot.
If a dog, human, butterfly, and alien were to look at the rainbow they would each see it VERY differently.
Humans see the rainbow as ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet) while dogs see a blue-green rainbow – half as thick as what we see.
Our eyes contain millions of cones and rods. Rods enable us to see motion and light while cones let us see colour.
Dogs have two cones: green and blue. Humans have three cones: green, blue, and RED.
A difference of just one cone allows us to see a much more magnificent rainbow than a dog.
Butterflies have FIVE cones. So, in addition to seeing two colours we don’t have names for, they can see colours our brains can’t even process.
But the prize for animal with the most cones goes to the little but magnificent mantis shrimp that lives in our planet’s warm coral reefs.
The mantis shrimp has not two, not three, not five but SIXTEEN colour receptive cones.
Imagine the nuclear rainbow a mantis shrimp would see. No other animal we know of can see as many colours.
But can they perceive the beauty of what they’re seeing?
Probably not. These shrimps have tiny brains and as it turns out, are incredibly violent. They move so fast when attacking crabs and octopuses that they boil the water around them. And forget keeping one as a pet – they break aquarium glass.
Mantis shrimp are terrifying, violent, beautiful, amazing creatures. Just like humans.
So, I can see a rainbow – but is it the same rainbow? Well, it depends on who you’re looking at the rainbow with.
We like a challenge. So, we asked our managing partner and all-round strategy guru, Tracey, to summarise 2017 in a couple of words. She chose ‘post-truth’ and ‘truthiness’, and from that extrapolated a trend.
Last year has saw ‘
post-truth’ enter the lexicon. The term was so omnipresent that The Oxford English Dictionary declared it word of the year.
Stephen Colbert, a comedian, coined a precursor to the concept: truthiness, which is perhaps closer to what is often implied – that the fact is, in fact, an untruth.
The quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even if not necessarily true.
But ‘Post-truth’ is not really new – at least not in the communications industry.
Economists have historically portrayed humans as consistently rational (homo economicus) but the ‘truth’ is that all behaviour is influenced by who we are and how we feel.
We can trace our questioning of how logic and feeling influence who we are and how we feel to the curious case of Phineas P. Gage (1823–1860). Gage, an American railroad construction foreman, survived a large iron rod being driven through his head, destroying much of his brain’s left frontal lobe. While he was still able to function, his personality and behaviour were fundamentally changed.
So began our quest to understand how our brains are ‘wired’; we know there is a rational and emotional part, but how do these two inter-relate, which part drives and which follows?
Research by Antonio Damasio (Professor of Neuroscience, Psychology and Philosophy at the University of Southern California) into patients who have damage to the limbic part of our brain showed the profound effect this had on the ability to make decisions. Leading him to conclude; “We are not thinking machines that feel, rather we are feeling machines that think.”
What does that mean for brand choice? Les Binet, Head of Effectiveness, adam&eve DDB and Peter Field, Marketing Consultant analysed 996 advertising cases of 700 brands in 83 categories. The findings were surprising. Brands that focused on emotional priming generated a greater return than those which were rationally based – and even more than those that had both rational and emotional elements.
Although all we do must be legal, decent, honest and truthful, we have always recognised that which appeals to emotion and personal belief is more powerful than simple, objective facts.
But in the healthcare space, the scientist within will always want to see the evidence to support beliefs. But which comes first? The emotional desire or permission to believe? And what is the winning combination? Sure, data is important. As important as salt is to a perfect recipe. But data, like salt, should be used in the right combination. Too much and you have an unpalatable saline solution. Get it right and you have the perfect margarita.
So, let’s drink to more emotional communications.
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