The Top 60: Euro RSCG Life x2

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Scarcely a year-and-a-half into its existence, Euro RSCG Life x2 (“times two”) has already spawned a burgeoning conflict shop. 

Euro RSCG Life Catapult, based in Princeton, NJ, launched on St. Patrick's Day with the network's Lovenox business from Sanofi-Aventis, an integrated account including professional, consumer, digital, managed markets, med ed and PR. Catapult's staff has already swelled to over 150, making it the larger of the two x2 shops, which together have a staff of about 250.

Launched in 2007, Euro RSCG Life x2 was something like the Havas healthcare network's answer to Omnicom's Diversified Agency Services, a hydra-headed amalgam of five units including Adrenaline, Interaction, ManagedEdge, Lightning Communications and the network's med ed group. The two shops consist of four practices each: “Patient continuum,” including consumer-facing communications from traditional DTC to adherence programs; managed markets, from consulting to program execution; medical education, including prelaunch work, MOA development, publication planning and KOL management; and digital.

“Where we landed is, we build enduring and profitable relationships,” says x2 president Paul Velardi. “When you think about the three major groups that impact any client's brand, you have payers, providers and patients, and while we have expertise in speaking to all three, it's really the sweet spot, the intersection of the three, where we can have the most impact.”

Velardi, who previously founded agency “boost” and co-managed the Lowe Live merger, joined the agency last summer. He brought with him former boost creative director Carol Fiorino. The agency also recruited Jo-Anne Callahan from InterMed to serve as director of client services, while Anthony Manson joined from Sudler to serve as COO. Joanne Borek, who joined from IMC2, serves as digital creative director. At Catapult, Jeff Hoffman serves as managing director and Pat Chenot, who joined from Publicis, is COO.  

The agency recently won new business from Biogen Idec, which expanded x2's work on Avonex to include its entire MS franchise, and Merz, for a developmental filler that would compete with Botox. Other key accounts include: Sanofi-Aventis' Lantus and Lovenox; Bristol-Myers Squibb's virology franchise, for which the shop handles DTC; Warner Chilcott's oral contraceptives franchise; Bayer, for a preapproval VEGF product; and Novartis, for which x2 handles some med ed. 

Velardi attributes the young shop's success to common-sense CRM. “It's pretty much the principles of relationship marketing,” says Velardi. “These are very basic but they're not being done consistently in pharma —a deep understanding of the target audience and segmenting them accordingly, relevant communications in terms of who gets what when, really basic things.” 

The shop takes Euro RSCG Life's mission of delivering “creative business solutions” seriously. For BMS's Reyataz, on which the agency holds the consumer account, x2 delivered a clever sales aid-cum-in office tool that appealed to both patients and physicians. TV wasn't appropriate for the brand, Velardi said, so the shop took a viral approach, giving patients a means of expressing themselves through a photo contest. The winners were bound in a coffee table book delivered to doctor's offices by reps and displayed in waiting rooms. A virtual version is in development.

X2 is working on a “virtual conference” offering, to be launched later this year. 
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