100 Agencies: Rosetta

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Shannon Hartley
Shannon Hartley

Rosetta has a revamped leadership team following the retirement of managing partners Steve Michaelson and Judy Capano last year, as well as this year's loss of two other principals: chief creative officer Steve Hamburg (to LLNS) and Hari Mahadevan, executive officer, consulting services.

Recently named as managing partner to lead the agency's flagship healthcare practice, Shannon Hartley then brought in Auge Reichenberg, from Draftfcb NY, and Kieran Walsh from WCG (New York), as executive creative director and partner on the account-management side, respectively.

The shakeup comes as the agency emerges from a transition period. After integrating Wishbone, Rosetta was acquired by Paris-based holding company Publicis Groupe in June 2011 for $575 million. Mergers can be disruptive, and this one was no exception.

“We saw relatively flat revenue in healthcare in 2011 vs. 2010, as we completed our transition and integration activities,” reports Hartley.


This year has brought challenges on a key agency account:  Bristol-Myers Squibb/Sanofi blockbuster ­Plavix, which went off patent in May. Rosetta is working through the end of promotion of the antiplatelet drug, but the loss will no doubt impact 2012 billings. “That is an important business, as we go forward, that we will need to look to replace,” says Hartley, who joined the agency six years ago from BMS, where where she was one of Rosetta's first clients.

The agency is working to fill the ­Plavix hole. With the healthcare leadership team in place, Hartley says her win rate is up, and the group is focusing on opportunities to leverage the Publicis global network.

Rosetta's unique role lies in developing personalized marketing programs built on consumer insights, as in the agency's integrated campaigns for Forest's antidepressant Viibryd and anti-hypertensive Bystolic; Purdue's pain drug Oxycontin and pain patch BuTrans; and BMS meds Onglyza for diabetes and NuLogix for transplants, among others. Partnerships with agency siblings have been designed to leverage that capability.

As a result of a Publicis network pitch for Novartis oral MS drug Gilenya won late last summer, Rosetta is collaborating with sister agency Publicis Lifebrands Medicus to develop a personalized program for professionals, and with another affiliate on the consumer side.  The agency also deployed a personalized adherence support plan for Novartis kidney cancer drug Afinitor. Organic business wins included, for Allergan Europe, a DTC platform of a quality campaign for the drugmaker's aesthetics business (it also works on Botox, Juvederm and ophthalmology brand Optive).

One client, Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, transitioned some purely offline work to another agency within the Publicis network.

Somewhat removed from its biopharma sweet spot, Rosetta was named digital AOR for Beiersdorf skin care brands Nivea and Eucerin, and is building an exchange for Highmark BlueCross BlueShield of Western Pennsylvania to let consumers shop online for insurance. The exchange draws on Rosetta's experience building e-commerce platforms.

Expanding beyond pharmaceuticals is part of Rosetta's push to diversify its portfolio and head off challenges like Plavix's loss of exclusivity. Hartley also wants to establish a Rosetta team within one of Publicis' London offices and to pad her roughly 250–300 dedicated healthcare staff by 20–30 positions this year.

She says her challenge is to achieve that while still delivering “on the promise of personalized marketing for our clients and [to] do that within the context of the global Publicis network.”
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