Omnicom merges AgencyRx, Flashpoint and three other agencies to form DDB Health



This story has been updated.

Omnicom Health Group said it's consolidating five professional healthcare agencies spanning the U.S. and Europe to form a single integrated offering called DDB Health. The reorganization is expected to be announced today.

Those involved are AgencyRx, Flashpoint Medica, DDB Health Germany, DDB Health Paris, and Synergy. The U.S. firms had combined revenue of $73 million in 2015, according to MM&M estimates.

Josh Prince (pictured), chief marketing officer of the Omnicom Health Group, has been tapped to be CEO of the new network, which will maintain offices in New York and San Francisco. Jennie Fischette (pictured), previously of Concentric Health Experience, has been named president of DDB Health in the US. Charlene Prounis, previously CEO and managing partner at Flashpoint Medica, has sold her stake in the agency and is pursuing "her next adventure in life," Prince said, which he understands "will be far afield from healthcare advertising."

See also: Omnicom formalizes health group led by CDM's Wise

The idea is to forge a network out of healthcare talent under the DDB flag, according to Prince, who said there were a small number of layoffs from the consolidation but wouldn't confirm how many.

“Omnicom Chairman and CEO John Wren saw the potential of connecting the big network brands like DDB with some of the healthcare offerings to create a network fueled by some of the best consumer thinking, but also populated and informed by some great healthcare people,” he explained of the decision.

Michael Schreiber, previously CEO of AgencyRx, has been named DDB U.S. executive creative director. Nicole Johnson was named the head of the agency's San Francisco office as managing director.

It's the latest consolidation by Omnicom Health Group. In April the Omnicom Health Group merged Corbett and LLNS into the TBWA/WorldHealth brand, led by Sharon Callahan as CEO.

See also: Omnicom merges Corbett, LLNS into TBWA/ WorldHealth brand

Omnicom Health Group was created in February when parent company Omnicom reorganized its specialty healthcare agency brands into four categories: professional, patient, payer, and regulatory/evidence/medical. Prince noted that most of DDB Health's work will fall squarely into the professional bucket.

He said that there was a “limited number of overlapping positions” when the agencies were brought under one banner, but would not give specifics for how many employees were laid off in the process—only noting that there are 17 open positions in the U.S. for DDB Health.

He noted that the agencies involved have been aware of the plans for two months now, and as of Wednesday the network is up and running.

See also: Q&A: Omnicom Health Group's Josh Prince on provoking conversation in healthcare

The network is not simply taking DDB's name however, and adding a health moniker—the new network and its namesake, mainstream consumer shop DDB, plan to partner to create DTC advertisements. “It will be a joint venture taking talent from DDB Health and DDB,” Prince shared. “Michael Schreiber has been charged with forging a relationship with Chris Brown [president and CEO of] DDB here in New York.”

That kind of partnership is a trusted model for Omnicom. Prince started and ran a similar joint-shop four and a half years ago in BBDO/CDM HealthWork.

The network's tagline, “creative as a force for good health,” alludes to leveraging the network's digital capabilities. Prince noted, “to use creativity as one of the engines behind engaging people and customers —whether they be doctors or patients or health systems around health ideas and bringing creativity not just to the work, but to the technology.”

The previous DDB Health, run by Mark Goldstone, no longer exists, Prince said, noting that “Omnicom and DDB felt that healthcare assignments and clients—especially professional ones—were best served by dedicated healthcare agency people.”