MM&M Agency of the Year: Draftfcb Healthcare
At a time when many agencies considered it a feat just to keep the lights on and everybody working, Draftfcb Healthcare brought on about 160 fresh faces, launched a branding unit, and won an impressive mix of business. Led by CEO Dana Maiman and chief creative officer Rich Levy, the healthcare behemoth posted very significant double-digit growth last year off an already large base.
MM&M took notice, naming the agency an All Star. But perhaps the ultimate kudos came from holding company Interpublic Group, which made Maiman CEO of Draftfcb's entire New York office. Yes, the same person shepherding Bristol-Myers Squibb's revolutionary melanoma drug ipilimumab is now ultimately responsible for Oreo cookies and the ONDCP (you know the tagline: “This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs.”). The New York office actually has a great deal of healthcare brands on the DTC side, enabling Maiman to, as she puts it, “jump right in.”
The crew started off last year landing the professional AOR account for Cepahlon oncology brands and franchise, then broke onto Novartis' roster winning its CAPS drug Ilaris, for which it's now launching a second indication (gouty arthritis), and several products from the Swiss firm's cardiovascular lineup. Draftfcb Healthcare also brought on the Nestle Nutrition account, working the institutional side of the business.
An infusion of web savvy ensures all work is integrated. Levy, a digital maven as well as someone with considerable consumer experience (he launched the “Can You Hear Me Now” campaign for Verizon Wireless in 2002) joined in November 2009 from GSW Worldwide and earlier Ogilvy Healthworld, assuming a portion of the role previously handled by Tom Domanico, former chairman and co-CEO who is now chairman emeritus. Marty Laiks also came on board last year from ghg's G2 unit to lead CRM and digital integration.
Levy estimates that 125 members of the 600-person shop have “digital” in their title. The other 475 must understand this evolving arena, “because that's the agency we're building moving forward,” he says.
Adds Maiman: “We want to be an agency that is able to take your brand anywhere it needs to go in any medium.” Draftfcb's NeON shop handles a large portion of multichannel work for Pfizer's established products business unit, for instance.
Proof lies in external recognition: the agency's launch campaign for Centocor Ortho Biotech psoriasis treatment Stelara netted a 2010 MM&M Silver award for best total integration program for large pharma. The campaign included ads, tablet PC assets and multiple convention booth tactics (including augmented reality).
The agency applies a healthy dose of analytics to every brand, platform and launch. The Stelara effort, for example, impacted product and benefit awareness metrics and was the year's biggest launch, averaging $13.9 million in monthly sales, according to IMS Health data.
“Especially now when we're doing so much more digital work than ever before, everything can be measured,” says Levy. And there's a lot to measure. In addition to Stelara, the agency is in the thick of launches for Cephalon sleep drug Nuvigil—the year's second biggest, per IMS—as well as a global launch of the Merck AFib drug Brinavess. All told, 16 new or organic accounts padded the win column, one of the most exciting being Vivus and the professional/consumer AOR brief for experimental weight-loss drug Qnexa.
Among other 2010 highlights was the establishment of a design and branding unit led by EVP, creative director/branding, Diane DePaolis, hired in September. The unit engages clients early on in a product's lifecycle, setting the “look and feel” of the molecule for less than the cost of an AOR relationship.
Overseas, the agency hired the duo of Jeff Daniels and Peter Hudspeth to run its UK hub. And at an IPG-wide meeting in May, the healthcare shop won a bronze award for creativity for its psoriasis “Live in My Skin” work, besting hundreds of general advertising offices around the world—an accolade, Maiman says, that shows “healthcare matters.”