Why We Care About Others

>> Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Harvard Business School recently released the results from a new study on generosity (HT @ryandrumwright). As they put it in their press release:

“This research provides the first support for a possible psychological universal: human beings around the world derive emotional benefits from using their financial resources to help others (prosocial spending). Analyzing survey data from 136 countries, we show that prosocial spending is consistently associated with greater happiness.”

In other words, humans are wired to feel happy when we help others.

It’s a bit of a foreign idea to old-school economic thought, which has at its core the assumption that everything we do is motivated by rational self interest. Since the meltdown of the markets and the emergence of behavioral economics (if you haven’t read it yet, be sure to check out Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely), we have all begun to clue in to the fact that a good number of the things people do are not the result of logical thought, but instead are the result of a messy collision of different evolutionary impulses that we have amassed over the millions of years.

As Robert Sapolsky puts it in a recent column in the NY Times, “evolution is a tinkerer, not an inventor.” We are not the result of a quantum biological leap that is unique in the animal kingdom. Rather, the faculties that make us human have been built on the foundation of other capabilities. So for instance, the part of your brain that detects that a piece of food is disgusting is also the part that activates when you read about some morally disgusting act (like the banks just rubber-stamping foreclosures).

In one study Dr. Sapolsky talks about in his column, “Chen-Bo Zhong of the University of Toronto and Katie Liljenquist of Northwestern University demonstrated how the brain has trouble distinguishing between being a dirty scoundrel and being in need of a bath. Volunteers were asked to recall either a moral or immoral act in their past. Afterward, as a token of appreciation, Zhong and Liljenquist offered the volunteers a choice between the gift of a pencil or of a package of antiseptic wipes. And the folks who had just wallowed in their ethical failures were more likely to go for the wipes.”

The scientist Dan Batson applies this thinking to generosity and empathy. In a recent column he wrote for On The Human, he discusses the evidence for the theory that our empathy for others is just an offshoot of the much older evolutionary quality of caring for our children. The same part of our brain that rewards us for nurturing our kids (even when all we want is for them to be quiet and leave us alone – don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about), is the part that rewards us for being kind, generous and helpful to strangers.

The positive emotions we get from generosity are a human universal, and it is part of what has enabled us to succeed as a species. As companies and marketers, we often become so locked in the transactional nature of our business (I’ll give you this coupon or service, but first you have to buy my product), that this very powerful truth seems completely foreign and unworkable. We should take heed of companies like Toms Shoes and campaigns like the Pepsi Refresh Project.

Generosity at a corporate or brand level requires a leap of faith, but there are big rewards for the teams who are able to make the jump.

Hope this finds you well,

Jacob Braude

VP, Strategic Planner


True Confessions of A Trader Joe’s Shopper

>> Monday, December 6, 2010

I never really saw myself as a loyal grocery store shopper. Aren't all grocery stores the same? Sure, I had my usual store, but that was just because it was close to home and had good product variety. If there was a similar store close by, I wouldn't have any problems switching. It's just groceries after all...

Or is it?

Since I've lived in New York, I've turned into a very loyal Trader Joe's shopper. I go there so often, I can list all of their products and prices. Last weekend, I decided to venture out and try WholeFoods. I spent five minutes cruising the aisles and then turned around and walked to Trader Joe's. I couldn't take it. I needed to feel at home. I needed my TJ fix.

There's something bigger than 59-cent apples keeping me hungry for my next TJ visit. It's the overall Trader Joe's experience.

When you walk though Trader Joe's door, you know what you are going to get. You know where to find your favorite products. The atmosphere is cool, friendly, relaxed and authentic, and employees actually seem happy to help you even though the place is packed like sardines (Trader Joe's sells some great sardines by the way).

So, how can we turn my love for TJ’s into something helpful and beneficial to marketers interested in wellness? It is all about creating experiences.

You don’t have to be a retail grocery chain to create a meaningful experience for consumers. With the popularity of popup stores and consumer experience design, there are infinite opportunities for wellness brands to get into the experiential marketing mix. For instance, Sanofi-Aventis and the Prevent Cancer Foundation placed a 20-foot long inflatable colon in Times Square as part of a cross-country colorectal-cancer awareness tour. The foundation claims they have seen a trend of increases in screenings, and a reduction of mortality rates since the tour’s launch.

There is one key thing that I’ve learned from all of these examples: an effective branded experience needs to be:
• Relevant
• Multi-sensory
• Emotional
• Differentiating

It doesn’t seem to matter if you are selling turkeys for the holidays or encouraging people to take care of their health, the experiences that make the greatest impact includes each of these four elements. So this holiday season as popup stores are popping up everywhere, keep your eyes out for these elements, and see if they include everything on the list.

Until then, let’s just go to Trader Joe’s.

Stay well, be well.

Ryan Drumwright
Junior Planner


Where can you go from here?

>> Sunday, December 5, 2010

I was inspired to find out last Friday, as perhaps you did, that there are at least three times as many stars out there in space than scientists had previously thought.

And who knows? Maybe there are more, many more, as the calculation was based on stars astronomers can’t actually see. (For every visible bright star, the team assumed 100 unseen.) And imagine -- we already thought, as the wonderful Carl Sagan famously told us, that there were
billions and billions of stars out there.

At the same time, another assumption-busting discovery was reported, based on the
behavior of bacteria scraped from the bottom of Mono Lake in California. Experts have long believed that life could only survive in the presence of 6 basic elements (phosphorus carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and sulfur, if you were curious). But defying expectations, the Mono Lake microbes learned how to exist on another element entirely -- arsenic.

I bring these up because if scientists can still make discoveries that challenge our collective notions of the nature of the universe and life as we know it, surely we as marketers have the same opportunities.

Of course, challenging a long-held assumption means being aware that we have deeply-held assumptions –a step that’s easy to overlook. If you believe there are a certain number of stars set in the sky, you’ll never ask whether there might be more beyond our visual reach.

Tom Friedman, talking yesterday on
Meet the Press, made the point that achieving success in a global economy (or as he puts it, a flat world) means revisiting cherished assumptions about how to get what we want.

This year, one of the things Wellness seems to mean is reassessing the truths about how we live our lives, especially moving from "can't imagine" to "can do." Or even, "what if?"

What do you really, really think is true? Could you be wrong?.

Maybe you’ll discover brave new worlds, far beyond, or deep within.

Hope this finds you well.



Doctors of the Future?

>> Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I’ve been following the very active twitter stream of Dr. Victor Montori, who heads up the SPARC innovations and design lab at the Mayo clinic (HT @ryandrumwright). At Mayo he leads a team working to improve patient care through design (my words – not theirs).

Their work is centered on a philosophy that may well change the way medicine has been practiced for the last several hundred years.

Until recently, doctors have focused on making measurable improvements in the illness they are treating. If you have multiple sclerosis, your neurologist measures her success by her ability to control the spread of lesions that can be seen when they scan your brain. If you have diabetes, your endocrinologist does her best to ensure that your A1C levels stay within a certain level.

This focus on measurable outcomes has created a revolution in life expectancy. In the short time between 1900 and 1985, life expectancy went from 30 years to 62 years – an astronomical jump.

But our progress has slowed, and increasingly doctors find themselves frustrated by their inability to make measurable improvements in the diseases they treat. The #1 culprit in this trend is people -- millions of whom ignore their doctors’ orders. We don’t take medication we've been prescribed, eat foods we shouldn't, and generally do anything and everything to frustrate our doctors’ desire for us to get better.

We here at Wellness see this dynamic every day. That’s why Dr. Montori’s work is so important and fascinating.

He is one of a growing number of voices from the medical community who are advocating for a wholehearted reexamination of priorities. By crowning measurable improvement as the central tenet of modern medicine, we have created an antagonistic relationship between doctors who want to make the human body work better and patients whose priorities are often more about living well in the time that they have.

Yes, someone living with diabetes would have better blood sugar control if they adhered to a strict diet and exercise regimen. But for many people, this would be a worse fate than suffering from the symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes.

At the heart of everything is a very personal decision about what makes life worth living.

Dr. Montori, and those like him, suggest that we should put this personal decision at the heart of every medical interaction. -- and that doctors learn to first understand what is important to their patient, and then design a care plan around those priorities.

He calls it Minimally Disruptive Medicine. I call it the wave of the future.

If you’d like to read a moving personal narrative from a physician struggling with this issue in his personal practice, check out this piece in the LA Times by Steve Dudley.

Hope this finds you well,

Jacob Braude

VP, Strategic Planner


A “Me”-covery?

>> Monday, November 29, 2010

Is there something of a “me”-covery in the air?

It turns out that Black Friday was a time for shopping …
selfishly. While total dollar volume only edged up slightly from last year, purchases for “me” were coming out on top. Articles this weekend were full of stories about shoppers saying they deserved something for themselves – and at least for a few minutes, were putting themselves first

It’s not that we’re giving up on gifts… even
charitable gifts are starting to rise again, after taking a nosedive in 2009. But there’s something encouraging about taking care of ourselves too, something that speaks to a desire to refresh and rebuild.

Lest you think this is a celebration of being selfish, I’m always reminded of that line spoken on every flight, every day, here in the U.S. – in the event of an emergency, put your own oxygen mask on first. Why? Because of course, if you aren’t taking care of yourself, it’s harder to take care of others.

It doesn’t have to be about gifts, of course, or even spending money – which for many of us is still tight. Part of your own “me”-covery might be scheduling an hour of me-time during the week, to take a walk, to start reading the new biography of
Cleopatra (oh wait, that one’s for me!), or even “we”-time –-to catch up with someone whose company you always enjoy.

Because everybody deserves a little more Wellness this holiday season. Especially you!

Hope this finds you well,



Tribe? Or Community?

>> Sunday, November 21, 2010

“Man is by nature a political animal.” – Aristotle

Cavemen wrote on cave walls, today we write on Facebook walls. At its core, social networking fulfills our human need to make a connection - it is the modern iteration of tribal behavior.

Tribes are active, mobile, made up of passionate influencers who drive behavior; these are the opinion leaders and the most important targets for a social media campaign. The problem is, many brands think they're creating online tribes when in fact they're simply collecting a community of passive admirers.

What does this mean for wellness brands?

According to Walgreens' president and CEO Greg Wasson, "as patients gain greater access to health care information…they are increasingly becoming shoppers of health care."

Translation: it’s more important than ever to have a clear strategy for engaging with tribal leaders in social media.

Here are 5 ways I've been thinking about to leverage the power of tribes:

  1. Identify your influencers- they will lead you to your tribes!
  2. Map the points where tribal influencers intersect—these are your best points of engagement (i.e. blog, groups, etc.)
  3. Develop key messages that resonate with the tribe
  4. Engage and listen. Tribes will often tell you how to market to them
  5. Repeat

Hope this finds you well!

Sharon Mandler
Senior Digital Strategist


Another big day for Saatchi Wellness -- and our friends at AZ

>> Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I am more pleased that I can put into words, but I'm going to try. . .

On Friday night Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness took home a Silver Clio for our work on AstraZeneca's Seroquel XR. This was a day after we took home the Gold honors at the Rx Club Awards, again for Seroquel XR.

A word about the Clios: this honor carries a lot of prestige given that the Clios are a global competition, so our work was up against 'the best of the best' from all over the world (to see for yourself, please go to http://www.cliohealthcare.com/winners/winners.cfm?medium_id=1 ). Now we received a Silver, but being the proud Managing Director I also have to point out that there were no Gold or Grand Clios awarded this year -- which means, for the second consecutive year, Saatchi Wellness has taken home the highest honor bestowed upon any agency at the Clios (last year we received the Grand Clio for Ambien CR). There is no other agency in the world that can make that claim.

Pretty nice. Congratulations go to Helayne Spivak and the Seroquel XR team -- led by Stu Fink, Jennifer Shirley, Jacob Braude, Paul Schmidt and Steve Pytko. You guys are truly on top of the world.

Please congratulate the entire Seroquel team when you see them for both the Silver Clio and the Gold Rx Awards -- their tenacity and vision for better product is an inspiration to us all. Thank you Seroquel team!



Norma Kamali Says Wellness is .... In Fashion!

>> Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Did anybody know that Norma Kamali, the famous and iconic fashion designer, is also a wellness guru? She even has a Wellness Café located at 11 West 56th St -- where you can go every week for Wellness Wednesday.

My eyes were opened recently when a friend of mine invited me to a screening event she was organizing to promote the debut of a new documentary series called ‘Conversations- A Dialogue on Wellness Solutions by Norma Kamali’.

The screening was at a private theater at the MOMA, and began with a brief showcase of each of her interviews with people she believed who were instrumental in the area of making positive wellness choices across the areas of beauty, fitness, nutrition, spirituality and health.

The conversations included such personalities as noted choreographer Twyla Tharp, Horst Rechelbacher- the founder of Aveda, Founders of Physique 57, Joe Cross- director and producer of “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead”, and a handful of others. Each had a distinct point of view, and that became even clearer at the panel discussion that was organized after the viewing.

To learn more, take a look at
http://www.normakamalicollection.com/Shared/HTML/conversations.html to take a peek at some of the interviews and to listen to Norma’s perspective.

Hope this finds you well,
Melissa Gordon
VP, Channel Planning


Good Ideas Need a Little Help From Their Friends

>> Thursday, September 30, 2010

I recently came across this UPS-guy-on-steroids promotional video for a new book by Steven Johnson titled “Where Good Ideas Come From.” Aside from the super engaging way it tells the story, I think the basic premise is fascinating and familiar.

Mr. Johnson’s theory is that big ideas don’t leap from the minds of solitary geniuses. They actually start as hunches that evolve slowly, over time, as a result of colliding with the hunches of other people who are thinking about the same area. As examples, he talks about how the coffee houses during the Age of Enlightenment served as an environment for colliding ideas, which is why we had such a rich explosion of creativity during that period.

The natural leap to today – and the one he makes – is that the proliferation of social technologies is opening the door for another Enlightenment-type explosion of creativity. We are connected with more people more regularly than anyone thought possible, which should set the stage for some fast and furious colliding of hunches.

The great thing about collaboration is that any of us in any setting working on any problem can do it. We here at Wellness have been moving more and more towards collaborative systems for doing our work. Different functional groups, working together hand-in-hand with our customers, is the ideal environment for some great colliding to generate better ideas than any one of us could have thought up on our own.

One important caveat: this does not mean that good ideas come out of group sessions. We find that often these ideas can occur in solitary settings: in the shower, walking the dog, nodding off to sleep. Although these ideas often emerge when we’re alone, if you trace the genealogy of the idea, you will find the genetic material of many other peoples’ ideas built in.

Hope this finds you well,

Jacob Braude


Learning How To Learn

>> Monday, September 20, 2010

We have a new junior planner here at SSW, and one of the perks of having young minds around is that their enthusiasm propels them to discover things we more mature folks might not.

Last week, one of the things he discovered was this article in the New York Times on what recent research has taught us about how people learn – one of our favorite topics here at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness.

Wellness is quite often difficult. For most of us – and our audiences – it includes making some fairly ambitious long-term changes to their behavior. A lot goes into behavior change, but one key ingredient is learning and mastering new information.

Thus I was fascinated by some of the “learning myths” the Times article debunked. Here is my quick-and-dirty synopsis of their three rules for better learning:

1. Say good bye to your favorite study spot
. Researchers have discovered that people retain new information better if they vary up the places where they consume this info. They theorize that we store new information by its relation to other data in our brains. When you are learning, your brain is also consuming the sensory data from the environment around you. So, if you change up where you are learning, your brain has more info associated with what you learn, and thus you retain it better.

2. One thing at a time – not so much.
Related information gets remembered better than like information. Researchers have demonstrated that students who studied mixed sets of four types of equations retained the whole lesson much better than other students who studied one type of equation at a time.

3. Testing is good!
In another experiment, researchers showed that being immediately tested on material you just learned helps you retain that information long term. The effort your brain exerts for the test helps cement the new information into your neurons.

Learning is equal parts important and difficult. It’s comforting that – through the magic of science and research – we can still get better at it.

Hope this finds you well.

Jacob Braude

VP, Planner


Can you ever treat yourself too well?

>> Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Every self-respecting self-help book has a chapter on how to treat yourself better. Well, it seems we’ve taken that a little too much to heart. It turns out that one of the biggest barriers preventing Americans from eating healthfully is that ... we like our treats.

Nielsen's latest global survey on healthy eating shows that for most of the world, the US included, a perceived lack of time, money and availability of healthy choices remain key barriers to a more nutritious diet. But here at home, "the desire to treat myself" trumped such practical considerations.

I don't know if this number is higher than in past years, but I do know that the urge for treats increases with stress, our national disease. So how are marketers answering the call?

A new post on WARC offers some insight into how some of the world's leading food manufacturers are approaching the conundrum of helping us eat more healthfully.

Pepsi is betting on convenience. In a strategy they call the Power of One, favorite snacks will be made with healthier ingredients.

Heinz CEO Bill Johnson sensibly puts the discussion in business terms, and investing in areas that will show a good return.

But of all the smart and successful companies mentioned in the WARC article, it was Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke who pinned his company's strategy to the one thing Americans seem to want most: pleasure. Nestlé, Bulcke said, is "offering … pleasure, balanced and healthy nutrition to people, to our consumers everywhere in the world."

Ah, healthy pleasures.
Just make mine chocolate.

Hope this finds you well,