JWT New York Teamed Up with Northwell Health to Develop an Amphibious Prosthetic Leg

By Erik Oster 

Plenty of agencies are working with clients on projects beyond the realm of communications. But JWT New York’s recent collaboration with Northwell Health may be unique.

The agency helped develop the Fin, an amphibious prosthetic leg, along with development partner Dan Lasko. A Marine veteran who lost his leg in Afghanistan, Lasko is also a triathlete, but the lack of a prosthetic that could function in or out of water made the transition to and from swimming difficult. He’s also the father of two songs who love the pool.

“The Return” celebrates the creation of the Fin, and its importance to Lasko, to promote Northwell Health’s veterans’ services. It’s an examination of both Lasko’s story and the work that went into developing the Fin.

“The Return” concludes with the testing of the Fin, an emotional moment which saw Lasko in the pool with his sons. The Fin was up to the test, with Lasko at one point even doing a flip off the diving board into the pool below.

“We were asked to promote Northwell’s veterans’ services and communicate its promise to raise the standard of healthcare through innovation,” JWT New York executive creative director Ben James told Adweek. “We said, let’s create a prosthetic that gets a veteran back to something they want to do, to return to something active in life. To ‘return’ meant it needed to go further than the physical. It would encompass the emotional side.”

“There isn’t any sort of amphibious leg prosthetic that allows a wearer to embrace a more natural swim—[combining] land and aquatic activities—so we set out to change that,” he added. “We went in hoping to find someone looking to get back to the water. Someone who would want to be so active it challenged us. In interviews, Dan talked about doing triathlons, but also swimming with his kids [sons Luke and Ben, ages 6 and 2]. Keeping up with the kids is maybe the tougher challenge!”

James told the publication it took about five months to make the Fin a reality for Lasko’s test swim in a Long Island pool. In addition to the above spot, the campaign also includes a digital content hub, a social media component and PR support.

Client: Northwell Health
Ramon Soto, Chief Marketing Officer
Don Simon, Vice President, Marketing
Jennifer Nelson, Senior Director Advertising
Katie Irizarry, Advertising Manager
Agency: J. Walter Thompson New York
Chief Creative Officer: Brent Choi
Executive Creative Director: Ben James
Creative Director: Karl Ackerman, Sean Ellman, Itai Inselberg
Creative: Bob Broadfoot, Rob Colucci
Business Director: John Danbeck
Account Director: Javier bracero
Account Manager: Vincent Falcetano
Strategist: Marina Pen
Head of production: Anthony Nelson
Director/Producer/Editor: Tom Mishra
Director of Digital: Jennifer Usdan McBride
Director of Technology: Kamran Aslam
Associate Director of Technology: Juan Turcios
Digital producer: Angela O’Neill
Project manager: Christine Fiorentino
Media: Metavision Media