TORONTO, CA // To make different creative, we must be willing to create differently. That’s what inspires the continual re-invention of Rachel McCready’s approach to the creative process.
“Create with a strategist. Create with a scientist. Create with someone who is not you.” Rachel believes that unexpected collaborations are key to bringing our work to new places. She re-envisions the creative process as a hackathon: small, diverse groups inventing unexpected visions of a world where brands thrive, and unique views on how to get there.
Growing up with one parent a Psychiatrist and the other an academic psychologist gave Rachel an early view into what makes people tick: what is unique to each of us, and what unites us.
Advertising was an early love, with Rachel using her family’s 80s-era SuperVHS video camera to make commercials for everything from shoes to shampoo.
But despite that early inspiration, a career in advertising didn’t occur to Rachel immediately. She studied journalism instead, learning how to find powerful stories in the everyday, and how to craft them to connect meaningfully with others.
After earning a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Ottawa, Canada’s Carleton University, Rachel’s first “real” job was as a Medical Writer with an independent continuing medical education company in Toronto. She found herself working with key opinion leaders on scientific presentations and articles, so she had to learn quickly how to read clinical trials and make data tell the right story for the brands she was working on. She loved the challenge.
Within a year, she was pitching ideas to clients, and a supervisor noticed a pattern: the ideas she was pitching had a consistent creative bent… they were ads - not CME. “You should work at an ad agency,” he joked.
Within a few months she did, taking a role with an independent agency in Toronto, starting as an Account Manager creating patient compliance programs and direct marketing, then eventually returning to her creative roots, first as a writer, then soon as a creative director, establishing a creative practice in the small shop and transforming it into a well-known AOR in the Canadian market, winning 80% of competitive pitches and winning awards for unexpected creative.
Next she took that experience to a network agency, Havas Health, where she led Canada’s creative team to an even stronger growth streak, and more creative awards.
Rachel’s path to her current role as Executive Creative Director at Klick Health was a branched one, which has influenced her creative approach: “If we cling to a protectionistic view of the creative process, we will be left behind. We need to throw open the doors and invite diverse thinking in.”
With more than 20 years of award-winning work in health marketing, Rachel’s experience covers nearly every specialty, organ system, and life stage.
The campaign work by Rachel and her teams includes such efforts as Cialis (It’s an Everyday Thing, Men Need Options); Gardasil (VERSED on HPV, Detect the Unprotected, Not My Child, Unfollow Me); Vagifem (The Big Ow); Steglatro (Power Forward); Pegasys (Body of Evidence); Asmanex/Zenhale (“Fine, Thanks”); Tazverik (The Unsilencing); Digihaler (It’s A Revelation); Nayzilam (Rescue the Day); and Concerta (38 Years). Her campaigns have been recognized at many international creative award shows, including the Global Awards, MM&M, PM360, and The Creative Floor.
Despite the depth of her experience, however, Rachel believes the first step in the creative process is to “forget everything. Don’t ask for an ad - ask for a new way of looking at things, and see what happens.”