2 Minutes With … Curtis Westman, CD at FCB Health Canada

Every word in a campaign holds meaning

Curtis has worked in marketing and PR for 16 years, with a focus on health for nearly a decade. He has written advertising and medical copy, speeches, scripts, headlines and other content. He has also penned recipes, biographies, letters, press releases and staff emails. Occasionally, he has been a Tweeter and a songwriter, too.

We spent two minutes with Curtis to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.

Curtis, tell us …

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I'm Toronto born and raised. There's nowhere else I'd rather complain about.

How you first got interested in health.

Hypochondria. When I got over that, the biggest draw was working in a somewhat science-related field without needing to have a science degree.

One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on.

Back in my PR days, I got to write for this U.S. unbranded diabetes/heart disease campaign, which gave me the chance to say I've written lines for an Oscar-winning actress.

A recent project you're proud of.

Our team has done amazing work in the direct-to-consumer space promoting drugs where we specifically do not say what that drug is for. Typically, the call to action is limited to "Ask your doctor" or "Talk to your doctor," and wherever possible we want to break away from that. So, we worked with Dysport to launch an Instagram page that fit into Health Canada guidelines, but also gave readers something interesting and attractive to keep in their feeds. Our strategy was to sell a lifestyle and aesthetic that people who used Dysport would recognize in themselves.

One thing about how health is evolving that you're excited about.

Equity in clinical trials. It can be hard to get excited about health when it seems like universal access is constantly under threat. But at least when it comes to the actual data, we're taking steps toward ensuring everyone is accounted for.

Someone else's work, in health or beyond, that you admired lately.

Last year in Canada, one of our country's television journalists was abruptly fired from her spot as chief anchor. Over the days that followed, it came to light that ageism may have been the cause. Reports indicated the reason was tied to her decision to let her hair go grey. Within a matter of days, PR agency Edelman helped their client Dove launch #KeepTheGrey to combat ageism and sexism. Right client. Right message. Right time.

A book, movie, TV show, or podcast you recently found inspiring.

The last book I read and loved was Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

I love music from artists who are great storytellers, and whose work transcends genres or creates a new genre. Artists like Nick Cave, David Bowie and Patti Smith.

Your favorite fictional character.

Dylan McKay from Beverly Hills 90210.

Someone worth following on social media.

There's a great artist/writer/illustrator/cartoonist named Derf Backderf. Whenever he talks about the history of comics and political cartooning it's worth reading.

Your main strength as a marketer/creative.

I read into everything. I overanalyze everything. Every word has a specific meaning and a specific connotation. Every message has to be perfect.

Your biggest weakness.

I read into everything! I overanalyze everything! Every word has a specific meaning and a specific connotation! Every message has. to. be. perfect.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in health.

I have absolutely no idea. But at least I can take some comfort in knowing I still would not have published my novel.

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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