2 Minutes With ... David Stemler, CCO at CultHealth

On 'Instant Doctor,' 'Easier to Find' and the magic of Paulo Conte

David Stemler spent the first 12 years of his career at The Bloc, where he drove their creative renaissance, helping to craft the Clio- and Cannes-winning short film "Instant Doctor" (which also qualified for Oscar consideration). In addition, he contributed to acclaimed initiatives such as "The Climb," "The 24-Hour Ad," "Scrollaby" and "Diagnosing Epilepsy Type," to name but a few. He then spent two years transforming CDM New York's creative output before joining Indegene's newly acquired agency, CultHealth, as its first-ever chief creative officer. 

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

David, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in Reston, Virginia. I live in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. I highly recommend the latter.

How you first got interested in health.

Health is terrifying, and I have little interest in dying. Fortunately, at the beginning of my career, I learned about the advent of predictive, preventative and personalized treatment and, well, I was hooked. If we can get the world excited about and actively participating in the pursuit of a healthier lifespan through strategy, creativity and technology, that's a pretty good reason to get up in the morning.

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

"Instant Doctor." We worked with The Youth in Brazil on the production and the amount of miracles they were able to pull off just as the world was shutting down at the height of the pandemic's first wave completely obliterated what I thought was possible—not just in terms of craft, but also just general problem-solving and resourcefulness. Not to mention, Tribute, our client, had their best year on record the year of the short film's release.

A recent project you're proud of. 

"Easier To Find" because the idea itself isn't groundbreaking, but the craft is exquisite. This could easily have been mediocre pharma work, but the right creative director, the right vendor, the right visual reference and the tenacity to push every element without losing the simplicity put this in award contention at multiple shows in 2022.

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

By the time I write this my response will be outdated. That is exciting.

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

"The Unfiltered History Tour" by Vice. Clear problem, simple solution, jaw-dropping execution. I used to say the British Museum was my favorite museum. I don't anymore. Probably for the best.

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

The Song of the Cell by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

Paulo Conte. I flew to Turin just to see him live and I'll go again in a heartbeat if there is anyone else even remotely interested. 

Your favorite fictional character.

Jep Gambardella in La Grande Bellezza. That or Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan playing fictional versions of themselves in The Trip.

Someone worth following in social media.

Emily Oster (if you have or are planning to have kids, or if you just like someone smarter than you explaining data).

Your main strength as a marketer/creative.

I'm a reader.

Your biggest weakness.

Excel spreadsheets.

One thing that always makes you happy.

Jogging while listening to an audiobook.

One thing that always makes you sad.

Hollywood movies that are just watered-down, formulaic versions of their foreign-language originals, tailored to some executive's idea of the American audience's taste.

Something people would find surprising about you.

The answer to the last prompt is probably surprisingly specific, but I really do find it depressing.

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

Probably the same thing just not "in health."

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives and marketers 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.

Jessica MacAulay
Jessica MacAulay is a contributor for Muse by Clio. She's also a recent graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder's College of Media, Communication, and Information.

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