A Q&A with Sir Roger Moore, 2015 Young Lions Health Award judge

Sir Roger Moore
Sir Roger Moore

Sir Roger Moore may be best known for his role as James Bond. But he's taken on a new role as a judge for the Young Lions Health Award, a competition challenging creatives who are 30 years old or younger to develop a campaign that can help improve the lives of children by strengthening health systems in low-income countries.

The award was developed by Unicef and Unilever, the global packaged-goods conglomerate. The winner will be announced at the Lions Health festival later this month in Cannes, France.

Moore, a longtime Goodwill Ambassador for Unicef, talked with MM&M by email about how creativity can be used to improve public health.

Jaimy Lee (MM&M): Why did taking the role of a judge for the Young Lions health award appeal to you?


Sir Roger Moore (Unicef): As a Goodwill Ambassador for Unicef for over 20 years, I have visited health programs all over the world. Like Unicef, I believe children should not be dying of preventable causes, as they sadly do every day. All children deserve to have strong national health systems—giving them access to vaccinations, clinics and hospitals, medicines, doctors and nurses.

Unicef saw with the Ebola outbreak that it spread fastest in countries with weak healthcare systems and eventually completely overwhelmed them. On the other hand, those countries with stronger systems were able to control the disease and maintain health services for their populations, which is especially vital for vulnerable children and mothers. The Young Lions Health Award in partnership with Unicef and Unilever aims to address the challenges facing health systems in developing countries by raising awareness in the public and in governments and others who can make a difference.


I believe these young creative people entering the competition can push the boundaries and help change the lives of children for the better by reaching more of the public and decision makers. Unicef understands that unless health systems everywhere are strengthened, the lives of children will continue to be on a knife edge, in danger from the next disease outbreak or the next natural disaster.


Lee: What role can creative advertising and marketing play in improving public health, notably in low-income countries?

Moore: Nowhere is the power of creativity more crucial than in health. It is important to spread the word on the importance of health and the many factors that affect health. In order to do this we need new and innovative solutions to healthcare and we need new and innovative marketing to reach people everywhere. Brands can be a vital tool to raise funds and awareness of these important issues and to bring them into people's homes. These Young Lions are at the cutting edge working with digital and communications technology, which can spread in developing countries and help them meet their own challenges in innovative and sustainable ways.


Every year approximately 6 million children around the world die before their fifth birthday. Among these are roughly 3 million newborns who die in the first month of life. Most of these deaths occur in low-income countries, among the poorest of the populations, where access to healthcare and, importantly, to information about best healthcare practices is not always readily available.

If we can have ideas, innovations, new ways of reaching those millions who, while living in the Internet age, don't even have access to basic services, we will be doing something really worthwhile. Therefore, I see this as a very important competition that can potentially make a real difference to children's lives.


Lee: What new perspectives can "young" creatives bring when helping develop a campaign for Unicef?

Moore: These are the best and brightest minds in the advertising and creative industries and we need their talents. They are more globally connected and digitally minded than any generation before—meaning that their reach is potentially huge. They can bring a new perspective in how to generate awareness of the need to strengthen health systems in the developing world. Unicef is continually looking for innovative ways to enhance the well-being of children. The bright minds of this new hyperconnected generation could take a fresh look at an old problem and create innovative platforms that could broaden knowledge in the field of healthcare and health services for children.


Lee: How do you think this experience will add to your longstanding work with Unicef?

Moore: In that time I have seen the world change enormously and Unicef adapt to be at the forefront of increasing challenges and solutions for children. Unicef has made great strides in healthcare and in many countries incredible results have been obtained. This competition is important, however, because children are now experiencing more challenges than ever before from natural disasters, conflicts and harsh economic environments.

(This Q&A has been edited and condensed.)

Looking for more Cannes Lion coverage? Here you'll find daily news of the latest trends, themes and chatter around creativity in healthcare, live from the south of France during the two-day festival.