100 quotes: What they reveal about the state of healthcare advertising

Executives from MM&M's top 100 agencies talk about the pros and cons of being independent versus network agencies, their visions, where the money is, agency culture, advice on being in the healthcare industry, challenges, client experiences, and trends to look out for.


1. 2e Creative
“Clients always ask, ‘Why should I hire you over a four-thousand-person agency?' My friendly response is, ‘Even if you hire a four-thousand-person agency, you still only get six people on your business. You can have their six people or my six people.'” 
- Ross Toohey, president

2. AbelsonTaylor
“Given our size and success, and that our senior people have been here forever, [would-be buyers] just assume we all want to cash out. Well, we don't.” 
- Dale Taylor, president and CEO

3. Benchworks
“The life-sciences industry is under pressure and compelled to look for more efficiencies. “Because we are privately held, we aren't really as concerned about quarter-to-quarter performance. We don't have legacy acquisition costs. So we provide a good value.”
- Thad Bench, CEO

4. Calcium
“Agency consolidation towards large networks continues to limit exposure to Big Pharma, but we see that trend weakening as clients seek greater innovation.”
- Steven Michaelson, CEO

5. Evoke Health
“Many pharma companies are abandoning the [consolidated holding company] arrangements altogether or are opting to add independent agencies into the mix to increase quality… We see it as a de-commoditization of the industry and a valuing of quality strategic thinking and creative.”
- Reid Connolly, CEO of Evoke Group and Evoke Health

6. Greater Than One
“‘Prosolidation' is a notion of proactively using independent shops to help your holding companies be more innovative… We're very happy to work alongside other agencies.”
- Elizabeth Izard Apelles, CEO

7. HealthWork
“We're not diluting the culture or agency or offering,” Henry says. “We are combining the best of the agencies.”
- Denise Henry, managing director

8. McCann Health North America
“We're embracing our McCann-ness. We're a large, global network. We play big; it's expected of us. The goal is to be a significant player from a scale and stature perspective.”
- Amar Urhekar, president, McCann Health Americas

9. Pivot Healthcare Communications
“Our biggest challenge is to avoid becoming a post-pharma-company-acquisition casualty. A lot of time when an acquisition happens, you're not given a chance to retain the business.”
- Cindy Schermerhorn, president and CEO

10. precisioneffect
“[Parent company] Precision Media Group has put wind beneath our sails. You go into these things cautiously, but it was a natural collaboration and it exceeded our expectations.”
- Carolyn Morgan, president

11. STRIKEFORCE Communications
“All these big agencies and holding companies keep on realigning, renaming, restructuring – and to what end? Where's the value? It's just a new coat of paint. A pig with lipstick is still a pig.”
- Mike Rutstein, founder and CEO

12. TBWA/WorldHealth
“We were doing fairly well as mid-sized agencies, but we were always faced with resource challenges. We wanted to create one large agency and make it a real global collective.”
- Sharon Callahan, CEO

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