Many people attend the annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity to be inspired by the advertising work and collective marketing talent.

However, in the case of Erica Taylor, PhD, chief marketing officer of Genentech, some attend with an ambition to disrupt the status quo in marketing and encourage others to foster a creative culture organizationally.

To that end, Taylor participated in a 30-minute session on Monday afternoon as part of a conversation with VML global chief creative officer for health and wellness Mel Routhier about the internal transformation at Genentech. 

(Of note, Routhier also served as the 2023 Cannes Pharma Lions jury president.)

Taylor told MM+M that the focus of her talk was about how Genentech is committed to prioritizing inclusive marketing and health equity initiatives to reach diverse patient populations. 

From her perspective, Genentech has taken a deliberately holistic approach to marketing, which ensures culturally relevant and compassionate content for the target patient population. 

A recent example that comes to mind is the biotech’s sponsorship of a health equity symposium in partnership with the American Cancer Society and the University of Illinois Cancer Center at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.

The ASCO activation was designed to properly underscore the need for greater health equity and call invested stakeholders to action.

She said her industry colleagues should reconsider their approach to marketing and let it speak to people’s lived experiences in culturally competent ways to be most effective. That also means incorporating the tenets of health equity into the advertising rather than treating them as separate entities.

“If I’m a good marketer, that means that I’m speaking to every possible audience in the most relevant and personalized ways,” she said. “The idea that [health equity] is part of your success as a marketer is something that Genentech has embraced because it’s not a different thing. I’m going to do my marketing work and my health equity marketing work. This is just what we do as marketers, this is what good marketing is whenever you see it.”

Speaking of the festival itself, this marks Taylor’s second time at Cannes.

She said it felt like there was an increased buzz at the festival compared to 2023, with crowds growing in the evenings and a litany of submitted work to draw inspiration from all around the grounds. This includes from not only other health brands and their respective agencies but from other sectors, too.

One of the most important parts of attending Cannes, she said, is getting to network with peers from across the world. Taylor said one of her favorite parts are the microinteractions between sessions, after awards are handed out or even on the walk to dinner. 

She reminded attendees not to overschedule themselves and make time to engage in networking in order to make the most of a busy week abroad.

“Those conversations, that one-on-one contact and meeting new colleagues or connecting with previous colleagues, are the micro interactions that go beyond the macro interactions,” she said.