Top tips with Adrian Zambardino on insights and planning

Top tips with Adrian Zambardino on insights and planning


Adrian Zambardino is part of the Havas Lynx Group planning function. In this blog piece, we caught up with Adrian to learn more about his passion, experience and what top tips he would give to someone looking to enter in to a career in insights and planning.

We’re proud to have welcomed Adrian Zambardino to the Havas Lynx Group as part of our planning function. Adrian joins our London team with over 30 years’ experience including senior roles at JWT, Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy & Mather, and most recently Langland.

Elizabeth Egan, Managing Director, Havas Lynx London said, “I am delighted to have Adrian on the team with his breadth and depth of experience. He is an asset to further enhance our Strategic Planning function, to shape life-changing campaigns.”

We caught up with Adrian to learn a little more about his passion, experience and what top tips he would give to those looking to enter in to the world of insights and planning.

What inspires you the most about working within healthcare communications? 

It’s tempting to say that I’m motivated by the prospect of curing diseases or increasing the sum of human happiness, or even that it’s time to give something back after my years spent marketing sugary breakfast cereals. But the truth is probably simpler. I simply find the health system and medicine a fantastically interesting subject area. Health is a subject you can’t help but have strong feelings about. It matters to people. Some categories are all about creating a need that didn’t exist before. Health is the opposite. It’s basic, fundamental, human. So, being in the insights business, healthcare is especially rich and fertile.

What do you think pharma and healthcare can learn from consumer advertising/marketing?

In my experience, healthcare brands have struggled to treat healthcare professionals as human beings. It is often quite difficult to garner insight from physicians, because they tend to respond in research with their ‘prescriber’ hat on. Some FMCG categories have become adept at digging a bit deeper and using the resulting insights to redefine communications in a more interesting way. We could probably learn from that.

We could probably also learn from other categories to be more challenging to our clients – in a constructive way. There’s a (probably) apocryphal story about a retailer located in a riverside location, who asked his agency for a campaign to increase footfall. The agency declined to create new communications, but proposed lobbying the authorities to build a new bridge to make customer access easier. The story may or may not be real, but that kind of lateral thinking is something I very much aspire to.

What do you believe are the foundations to a solid idea?

Interesting question – do we even agree on what we mean by an idea? I think ideas are too varied to define easily – sometimes captured in a phrase, sometimes an attitude, sometimes a story or a set of characters like in a sit-com.  But I do believe the best ideas have something that captures our imagination together with some kind of attributes which make it ownable by a brand.  It’s the thing that’s common across channels and over time. The new John Lewis TV campaign was launched recently. I think we could all have a stab at defining the common characteristic that goes through John Lewis commercials. Something around the emotional territory surrounding  joy of giving. But there are a set of crucial elements that separate these ads from their many imitators – the music, the visual style, the direction, a kind of personality – that’s more difficult to put your finger on, but equally important, I think.

What three things would you say to someone looking at a career in insights and planning?

  • Stay curious
  • Don’t believe the hype
  • Learn from outside our industry

What are you most looking forward to in your role at Lynx?

First, it’s the people. Everyone I’ve met has inspired me and makes me want to do great work together. I sense an enthusiasm for thinking and for ideas at Havas Lynx which I haven’t seen for a long time. There’s a sense of ‘something happening’ here, which is difficult to put into words, but it’s there in the people and in the general buzz. And a genuine commitment to the thinking.  I really can’t wait.