Saatchi Healthcare rebrands for more holistic approach

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With a stable of big-spending clients and one of advertising's most storied names, you might think Saatchi & Saatchi Healthcare Communications Group would be the last shop in need of a rebrand.

They're keeping the name, but faced with declining spending in the pharma sector, a dearth of big new mass-market drugs to launch and a tough market for talent, the firm today unveiled a new visual and corporate identity centered on healthier living.

“We're evolving beyond a pure pharma, fix-sick-people kind of approach to a much richer, more wellness-focused place, with more diverse offerings,” said Sam Welch, president. “We're hiring a lot more folks out of the digital realm and a lot more with a heavy CRM background.”

Saatchi's new visual identity is based on 13th-century Italian mathematician Fibonacci's golden spiral, meant to convey a more organic feel and potential for exponential growth, said Welch. The agency, known for blockbuster integrated accounts like AstraZeneca's Nexium and Sanofi-Aventis' Ambien, will look beyond prescription drugs for work in other health-related areas, from OTC products to fitness.

“It's also about what we bring back to our foundational clients in pharma,” says Welch. “They need us to be richer and more diverse. They need us to have a perspective of what's going on in OTC, health and wellness so that when we're thinking about those brands we've got the whole picture.”

The agency is also revamping its offerings for employees through Saatchi Youniverse, an internal initiative incorporating lifestyle perks like virtual work environments, subsidized gym memberships and other fitness incentives, and community service through a partnership with New York Cares.

The overhaul, for which the Publicis firm is spending “hundreds of thousands,” is needed to modernize the agency and make it better able to retain talented young employees of a generation that scoffs at the traditional office-based 9-9 advertising job.  

“If traditional agencies don't very quickly evolve to an approach encompassing digital and CRM and bringing a more holistic perspective to everything they do, they're just going to be left in the dust to shrivel up and die,” says Welch.

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