LBi launches US digital health shop

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BMS’s Reyataz “Fight HIV Your Way” photo contest was executed by the agency
BMS’s Reyataz “Fight HIV Your Way” photo contest was executed by the agency
LBi, a big European indie digital agency network, is opening up a healthcare marketing shop in the US, seeing opportunity in Publicis' increasing domination of the digital health space.

LBi Health will boast a staff of 70 working out of its New York headquarters and handling a roster of clients including Roche, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, J&J, AstraZeneca, Forest, Genzyme, WebMD, Massachusetts General Hospital and Mount Sinai.

LBi, a big independent network with roots in London and Scandinavia, has around 1,800 employees working out of 26 offices in 16 countries – mostly in Europe, though the company has made inroads into Asia-Pacific and North America in recent years. LBi US formed from a merger of IconNicholson and Special Ops Media two years back. The company has been quietly building up its US healthcare presence for more than a decade, having built the first consumer site for Viagra and seen 80% growth in its healthcare operations for each of the past four years.  

“With each successive wave of growth, we've brought on more resources, and we're now at a scale where it makes sense for us to become our own agency,” said Gregg Fisher, who will serve as managing director of LBi Health.

Fisher describes the firm's offering as that of a “multichannel healthcare marketing agency with roots in the digital world that set us apart.” The agency will handle consumer-and professional-focused assignments, bringing tech expertise and an ability to partner with other shops. Their motto is “Creating connections that matter between brands and customers.”

“Traditional agencies excel at messaging,” said Fisher. “What we're really good at is managing the entire customer journey and coordinating that across channels.”

LBi is betting that Publicis' recent acquisition of Rosetta, placing the digital shop under the same holding company as Digitas and Razorfish, will boost its business as clients sweat conflicts and seek out alternatives.

“The innovative sector of healthcare communications really doesn't have many independent shops that have the scale we have globally,” he says, adding that LBi has brought on “a lot of very talented people from Digitas” and other shops as a result of Publicis' recent roll-up.

Recent work by the firm includes BMS's Fight HIV Your Way contest for Reyataz and Yervoy professional launch.
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