Wellness Goes To Washington

>> Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stu Fink is an incredibly talented Associate Creative Director here at the agency. He gives thoughtful insightful here on the difference between being proactive vs. reactive. But not about the creative.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.

Take it away, Stu:

With the battle over Universal Health Care showing no signs of abating anytime soon, it was a pleasure to read a recent Op-Ed by Senator Tom Harkin (D, Iowa) that thankfully did not reduce this complicated debate to an overly simplified game of “Socialists vs. Sadists.” What Harkin did, instead, was shine a light on one area of this proposed legislation that, until now, has largely been ignored. And that’s Wellness.

Harkin writes, “I view this legislation as our opportunity to recreate America as a genuine wellness society – a society that is focused on prevention, good nutrition, fitness, and public health.” Later he writes that 95% of every health care dollar is currently earmarked for illnesses and conditions after they occur. That leaves just five percent for prevention.

I tend to think Harkin’s point transcends politics. Some of you may beg to differ. What is fascinating, regardless of your political affiliation, is just how long it’s taken Washington to make the connection between Wellness and Illness.

I tend to split our client roster into two distinct camps. Proactive Health and Reactive Healthcare. Into the camp of Proactive Health falls any product or service promoting preventative steps to remain healthy. Being able to protect your eyes from UV rays with Transitions Lenses, that’s Proactive Health. Being able to protect you and your partner from a sexually transmitted disease with Durex Condoms, that’s Proactive Health.

Reactive Healthcare encompasses our clients that offer medication and resources to those who who are already “sick.” Staving off a second heart attack with Plavix, that’s Reactive Healthcare. Protecting your esophagus from damage with Nexium, that’s Reactive Healthcare.

But the truth of the matter is this: these are not two distinct camps. They are intrinsically linked and forever intertwined. One camp often leads directly into the other. Protect your skin from the sun today, cut down on your chances of skin cancer tomorrow. It’s pretty simple. We get it, and we’re just marketers. Thankfully, Washington seems to be getting it, too. Better late than never, I suppose.

In the words of Jim, I hope this finds you well.

- Stu Fink, Associate Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness


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