Razorfish Health's Dado Lam on Taking Risks in Healthcare Marketing
Dado has almost two decades of healthcare marketing experience, creating award-winning work in categories including oncology, rare disease, cardiovascular and CNS, across a range of brands both U.S. and global. He has a passion for design and digital innovation to tell impactful stories. Dado fosters an environment that encourages his creatives to strive for excellence and client teams to confidently advocate for new and different.
We spoke with Dado for our series Checkup, where we chat with leaders in the healthcare marketing space.
Dado, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I actually was born in Hong Kong and came to the U.S. when I was 8 years old. I grew up in Long Island, New York, but now reside in New Jersey.
How you first got into healthcare marketing, and what attracted you to it.
I came from a design background and started my career designing marketing materials for large real estate companies. I then transitioned to working at Citigroup for their internal marketing team in the private banking sector. I actually got into healthcare accidentally through a friend who was an account guy at the time. That's how unplanned it was for me to get into the industry.
Something people might not know about the healthcare industry.
I think healthcare advertising gets a bad reputation for not being creative. There's certainly a lot of unique challenges in our industry, but what fascinates me most is using my creativity not always only in a creative way but in other ways to find solutions to business problems. I often tell people that creativity is just one of my tools in my toolbox to solve problems with.
A recent project you're proud of.
One of the most fascinating thing about my job sometimes is meeting people I normally would never get an opportunity to meet. I recently had the pleasure to create a short feature about Huntington's disease with Nancy Wexler. She's an amazing woman and achieved so much for the HD community. It was an honor to have met and worked with her.
Someone else's project in healthcare that you were impressed by recently.
I love when innovation collides with creativity to produce more than just an ad. "Breath of Life" is a perfect example of how a single idea can be so transformative and provide a tangible solution to patients with a disease or condition.
A major challenge facing healthcare advertisers today.
Creatively speaking, it has always been challenging to stray from the beaten path. It's one thing for an agency or client to say they want to be bold and daring—it's another thing to actually embody it. Doing things differently can certainly be scary, but in order for change to happen, we all have to take some risks in order to disrupt and create long-lasting results.
One thing about how healthcare is evolving that you're excited about.
Emerging technologies and digital innovations are certainly going to change the landscape on how far we can reach our customers. There are so many ways in which we consume information, and so much data we can mine—if we can pair that with creativity, the future is for the taking!
How healthcare can attract more creative talent.
I think we're well on our way! Compared to when I started in the industry, I feel healthcare advertising has grown significantly. There are many things that are unique to our industry that creatives from all disciplines should look into that could be very beneficial to their careers. And this is far more reaching than just creatives. Developers, UX, editors, illustrators, photographers—the list goes on…
What would you be doing if you weren't in healthcare marketing?
I'm a foodie, so this is an easy one—I'd be a chef. There's a lot of creativity in cooking. The need to use different senses and ingredients to create a harmonious dish can be challenging, so I definitely see a lot of similarities with my day job.