2023 PM Society Awards – 37 years of creative excellence

Sales & Marketing
PM Society Winners 2023

On Friday 17th March, the PM Society held its 37th annual awards at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House in London, 900 industry professionals coming together to celebrate the best in creative communications in pharma and healthcare.

With a shift in focus to the creative solution, the craft, and the innovation, the event was supported by Twist Health, whose motto “Do it differently, do it right” could well be applied to the awards themselves.

PM Society co-chair Caroline Benson began proceedings, this year two diversity and inclusion categories and a newly created Positive Pitch award. Benson reminded the audience that the PM Society Awards continues to provide a popular forum for celebrating creativity, impact, and innovation in creative communications in the pharma and healthcare sectors, and noted that the PM Society would like to thank all its sponsors for their support, the judges for their hard work, and all those involved in making the awards happen.

Creating possibilities, together

This year’s nominated charity was Duchenne UK, whose director next took to the stage to ask for the audience’s support, noting the postcode lottery of care that yet remains in the this country, while a short video with co-founders Emily Crossley and Alex Johnson – whose own children suffer from Duchenne – made clear that the fight to fund treatments that actually reach patients is one that must be done very much together. By the end of the night, £10k had been raised.

To follow was the afternoon’s entertainment, kicked off by TV presenter and magician Stephen Mulhern, who wowed the audience with his reconstructed torn newspaper and miraculously empty water glass tricks, before astounding everyone in numerical fashion with a calculator addition exercise that resulted in the answer 173,33 – completed on the 17th March at, yes, precisely 3.33pm.

After Mulhern, came comedian Jen Brister, who regaled those in attendance with laughably woeful tales of Zoom faces and Covid home-schooling, how terming parents biological versus non-biological makes them seem very like detergent brands, and the older one gets, the more one develops collagen envy.

What this entertainment served to do was to cement the common humanity that is very much at the centre of what pharma and healthcare are trying to do.

After a three-course lunch, the awards themselves began, on which PM Society Awards lead, Rachel Farrow, commented: “We were blown away by the skills, effort, and enthusiasm of the judges in what is a complex system of fair and rigorous judging over two rounds.”

Celebrating creative innovation

21GRAMS, part of Real Chemistry, took four Golds, four Silvers, two Bronzes, as well as Best in Show (chosen by head judge, Kieran Delaney, executive creative director at Cherry) – the second year running it has done so. 

Langland came next, with three Golds, one Silver, and two Bronze awards, while McCann Health London, an IPG company, won three Golds.

In addition, Gold and Winner trophies were taken home by Cherry, Create Health, Evoke Mind+Matter, Havas Lynx Group, H4B Manchester, Purple Agency, Seven Stones Collective, and Swordfish Advertising.

Finally, of the five people shortlisted for Agency Champion – an award for the individual who has delivered above and beyond, symbolising what good healthcare communications are all about – Purple Agency’s Ben Smith was elected, while the Highly Commended award went to Martin Carter from Initiative Health.

The most successful pharma client was AstraZeneca, which won four trophies, including a Gold for Innovation and Pharma Marketing Pioneer for head of digital and innovation, Andrew Binns. On this win, the judges commented: “Andrew’s approach to putting empathy and creativity at the heart of marketing was refreshing. His management of internal stakeholders was inclusive and effective. A true leader, who is passionate about bring innovation to the pharma sector.”

The Laura Hyde Foundation, the UK's only charity providing mental health support to medical or emergency service personnel won three Gold awards. Dermavant and GE Healthcare won two Golds each, and other Gold winners on the client side were Alexion, Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), CSF Vifor, Ethypharm, Mind, and Sanofi.

Creativity for Good is an annual initiative run by the PM Society which aims to find a pro bono agency partner for a charity, which this year was, of course, Duchenne UK. The winning agency, with their highly creative Duvet Days campaign, was Evoke Mind+Matter. A Highly Commended was awarded to Purple Agency. 

The new Positive Pitch Award, meanwhile, was won by AstraZeneca, selected for the team’s excellent running of a recent pitch process. Nick Louisson, Director of Agency Services at ISBA, was on stage to hand over this inaugural trophy to the team. 

Gold and special award winners:

  • Product Advertisement: Langland for GE Healthcare, Open up with SIGNATM EVO
  • Charity or Patient Organisation: McCann Health London for The Laura Hyde Foundation, The Feelings
  • Internal Communications: 21GRAMS for Alexion, Snowflake Mountain
  • Disease Awareness: HCPs McCann Health London for The Laura Hyde Foundation, The Feelings
  • Patient Support: Swordfish Advertising for CSL Vifor, Let Your Itch Be Heard
  • Meetings, Events and Exhibitions: 21GRAMS for Dermavant, Pskin City
  • D&I Initiatives: Cherry, SPARKS
  • D&I in Creative Communications: Langland and Prodigious, If This Speaks to You
  • Creative Medical Education: H4B Manchester for Sanofi, EAN 2022: Turning up the volume on smouldering disease
  • Innovation Award: 21GRAMS for AstraZeneca, The Big Sneeze Cinema
  • Best Use of Insight: McCann Health London for The Laura Hyde Foundation, The Feelings
  • Creativity for Good: Evoke Mind+Matter for Duchenne UK, Duvet Days
  • Positive Pitch Award: AstraZeneca
  • Best Ad for a Company or Initiative: 21GRAMS for Dermavant, Pskin City
  • Agency Internal/Self-Promotion: Create Health, Healthy Young Minds
  • Disease Awareness: Public/Patients Seven Stones Collective for CALM, The Lonely Player
  • Product Brand Campaign: Langland for GE Healthcare, Open up with SIGNATM EVO
  • Creative Impact Award: Havas Lynx Group for Ethypharm, The Hidden Lifesavers
  • Agency Champion: Ben Smith, Purple Agency
  • Pharma Marketing Pioneer: Andrew Binns, AstraZeneca
  • Best in Show: 21GRAMS for AstraZeneca, The Big Sneeze Cinema

The PM Society

The PM Society is a not-for-profit organisation, founded over 40 years ago. Today it has over 4000 active members from over 250 companies and has three aims – to support organisations and people in healthcare, recognise excellence and promote best practice, as well as provide education and training. For more information, visit our website at www.pmsociety.org.uk.