AbelsonTaylor Launches ICONS.HEALTH™, a Content Channel Exploring Innovation at the Intersection of Healthcare and Technology

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Innovators and Entrepreneurs from Health-Tech Startups to Global
Corporations Provide Insights in Casual Conversations about Serious

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–What do Microsoft, Aetna, Twitter, IBM, Ogilvy Consulting, Biogen and
dozens of healthcare startups have in common? All appear in discussions
about issues at the nexus of healthcare and technology in Icons.Health™,
a new video series produced by AbelsonTaylor,
the world’s largest independent healthcare advertising agency.

Developed to capture compelling ideas that often arise during casual
conversations at conferences, Icons.Health features unstructured
discussions among entrepreneurs and innovators from divergent
organizations about new and exciting trends in technology and their
application to healthcare.

Unlike other content channels, Icons.Health is nonscripted, nonpartisan
and nonpromotional. The conversations are extemporaneous, without a
moderator and with no preconceived points to make.

“We like to capture conversations among people from different company
sizes and industries,” said Mitch Apley, vice president and director of
broadcast/print production at AbelsonTaylor. “We’ll have at least one
senior exec from a scrappy startup versus a traditionalist, established
professional at a big company. We can get unexpected dialog between
someone who’s starting an innovative idea and someone at a big pharma

The idea for Icons.Health originated in 2014, when AbelsonTaylor began
engaging with the healthcare startup community through a partnership
with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Hacking Medicine group.
After participating in a Grand Hackathon at MIT and co-creating
healthcare content several years in a row for the annual South by
Southwest (SXSW) festival, Apley and his colleagues noticed an
interesting pattern – while official content was compelling, the most
thought-provoking conversations seemed to happen in the hallways

The concept for a pilot program documenting these conversations took
shape during a spontaneous brainstorming between Apley and Joel Witmer,
an AbelsonTaylor cinematographer and editor. Looping in creative
director Noah Lowenthal, the trio presented the concept for Icons.Health
to the agency’s executive leadership and got approval to pursue the

The first opportunity to capture conversations came at SXSW in March
2018, where, between official sessions, the agency caught dozens of
speakers on camera. “We discovered that small startups have the audacity
to try to change healthcare and large tech companies have the obligation
to try to change healthcare,” said Lowenthal. “That juxtaposition
creates some fascinating content.”

Encouraged by their success, Apley and Lowenthal traveled to the Cannes
Lions International Festival of Creativity in June 2018 to capture
additional extemporaneous conversations. From a custom-built studio on
the main conference floor, they filmed exchanges between thought leaders
from a wide range of organizations, including Microsoft, Adobe and Aetna.

The raw footage from both festivals was edited into more than 40 videos
that, according to Apley, document exchanges between “the emerging
community of health-tech startups and the monoliths of healthcare that
court them.”

Among the topics and speakers in the current Icons.Health lineup:

  • Discovering somebody who cares, 280 characters at a time
    Ann Belliveau, national director of health and wellness at Twitter,
    and Terrie Livingston, senior director of U.S. medical at Biogen,
    discuss using Twitter to create virtual support groups that improve
    the patient experience.
  • Using augmented reality to change reality
    Ritesh Patel,
    chief digital officer for health and wellness at Ogilvy Consulting,
    and Doug Gould, partner executive at Microsoft, discuss how AI and
    gaming can help engage patients and change behavior.
  • Your Zip Code may matter more than your genetic code
    Gertler, chairman of U.S. News & World Report and CEO of Ulysses
    Ventures, talks with Garth Graham, president of Aetna Foundation and
    vice president of community Health for Aetna, and Angela Radcliffe,
    general manager of clinical trial solutions at PulsePoint, about using
    data to improve patient health.
  • What if fair balance is actually unfair to patients?
    Castellano, global executive creative director at IBM, and Anthony
    Reeves, managing partner of ReevesJones, discuss ways of making fair
    balance more user-friendly.
  • Can technology be empathetic?
    Chris Duffey, strategic
    development manager at Adobe, and Lexi Kaplin, chief product officer
    at conversationHEALTH, talk about how AI can lead to more personalized

The entire library of videos can be found at Icons.Health. Additional
conversations will be filmed at upcoming major conferences. Industry
leaders who would be interested in participating can contact Mitch.Apley@abelsontaylor.com.

About AbelsonTaylor

Chicago-based AbelsonTaylor is the world’s largest independent,
full-service medical advertising agency, offering strategic, creative,
interactive, media and client service expertise. We’re passionate about
science and equally passionate about telling the human story hidden
within the data. To learn more, visit abelsontaylor.com
and follow the company on Twitter
and Facebook.


Cynthia Amorese
(908) 665-8072

Julie Laitin
(917) 841-8566

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