Born: Clermont-Ferrand, France
Worked in: Paris, South of France, New York, Barcelona
Name an innovative idea or business solution for which you are most proud. In 2007, Norbert created a Super Bowl television spot, “Beat the Risk”, for the American Heart Association and King Pharmaceuticals. The goal was to encourage men aged 40+ to have their blood pressure tested – something a lot of men get lazy about or, worse, don’t think about at all. The advertisement was – to pharmaceutical/healthcare clients who typically prefer traditional, ‘safe’ marketing –
outside the norm. But Norbert pushed to do something that would really stand out and be remembered, especially on the world stage of the Super Bowl. As a result of the spot, traffic to the American Heart Association website skyrocketed to more than three million from an annual average of 150,000. It also won Norbert a Silver Medal in the New York Festival Awards in all categories of TV.
Additionally, within the past 10 years, Norbert has worked on Prilosec, Nexium, Seroquel, Pulmicort and Enbrel and led the global, consumer and healthcare provider launches for all but Prilosec. These five pharmaceuticals are among the 10 biggest pharmaceutical blockbusters of the decade in the US.
What role does innovation play in your marketing strategy today? Norbert is the first person to tell you he does not deserve all the credit for his ideas. He surrounds himself with a strong team and, in helping them to grow and become better at what they do, he is able to continually improve himself as well.
What is the biggest challenge you face in applying innovative thinking to international projects? Ignorance and lack of openness to other cultures. Some cultures do not allow innovation and creativity because of their politics or political correctness regarding religion, race, cultural backgrounds, etc. For instance, in a culture where women can’t show skin, how can you expect them to be open to creative and innovative marketing?
Dictionary definitions aside, how would you characterize innovation in the work you do? Norbert brings ethics into pharmaceutical advertising, an industry constantly under the microscope and often perceived as untrustworthy. He believes you must respect doctors and consumers equally and that if you do the advertising well and with integrity, the results will follow.
Any internationalist trivia about yourself? What is most surprising about Norbert’s success as a creative is the fact that he had received his law degree – a French Master’s degree in Medical Law and Health Institutions, as well as a degree in Economy of Health. When asked about his surprising education, he quotes his father who used to say, “With a law degree, you can do anything!” Apparently, dad was right.
Norbert is also a descendant of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, an 18th Century author
ho wrote the novel, Les Liaisons dangereuses. Two hundred years later it was adapted for the film, Dangerous Liaisons.