VMLY&R creates global health exec role to revamp creative strategy for healthcare clients

Natxo Díaz named to newly created position
Photo of Natxo Diaz in front of company logo

The following article was originally published by Ad Age. Click here to read the article on Ad Age's website.

VMLY&R Health has promoted Natxo Díaz to the new role of global head of health craft to bring a combination of strategy and creativity to the health care industry.

Díaz will support the chief creative officers across the WPP agency’s offices around the world to create a global standard for health craft. He is responsible for developing creative ideas and strategizing what clients need, from choosing production partners to creatively using technology.

“That's where Natxo is exceptional,” said Jason Gloye, global chief client officer and North America lead at VMLY&R Health. “What we loved about Natxo is he doesn’t just make pretty pictures. He elevates concepts, and his agility to do it on a tiny budget or at a massive scale makes him really unique.”

Díaz reports to VMLY&R Health’s CEO Claire Gillis and will work closely with Jason Xenopoulos, chief creative officer VMLY&R, North America, to pull ideas from outside health into health campaigns. He will split his time equally between the agency’s New York and European offices.

His appointment comes after one of WPP’s biggest clients, Pfizer, moved its “integrated global engine” to Publicis Groupe and named Interpublic Group of Cos. its lead creative partner. While VMLY&R is still doing creative work for Pfizer’s Independent Medical Education program, Gloye said the creation of Díaz’s new role stems from the consumer-facing shift the pharmaceutical industry made during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gloye and VMLY&R Health’s executive team began the discussion around highlighting craft with pharmaceutical clients in October 2021. The agency considered creating teams that would travel and focus on craft but felt Díaz was the right fit as the industry evolved.

“Pharma has been historically a little bit behind the bar in craft and more functional and more metaphorical,” said Gloye. “But post-COVID, we've seen pharma enter the zeitgeist. We've seen more people be more aware than ever of health and what health means to them, so we're looking to propel ourselves beyond smiling people on beaches with dogs and move into something much bigger.”

Díaz was most recently chief creative officer for VMLY&R Health Spain, a position he took on in 2020. He was behind VMLY&R Health’s campaign “Sugar Kids” for Spain’s Ministry of Health. The campaign, designed to highlight Spanish children’s high consumption of sugar, created six life-size children completely from sugary substances such as candy canes or chocolate.

He started his career in consumer, digital, e-commerce and commerce, CRM and advertising, before moving into health eight years ago as creative director for Ogilvy Health Spain. Diaz has worked across a range of pharmaceutical clients including GSK, Pfizer, Novartis, Janssen, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Gilead, Merck, Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

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