The Top 40: McCann Healthcare Worldwide

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The healthcare arm of Interpublic's McCann Worldgroup completed a global reorganization while netting 243 new assignments, 76 of which came from five top clients, and capped a sweeping global consolidation.

The firm appointed a regional management structure, with Susie Browning heading operations for the Middle East and Africa, Walter Ehrinzon taking charge of Latin America, and John Cahill heading up Asia-Pacific and serving as president and CEO of McCann Healthcare Japan. Dana Adler was named director of global operations for the group and Dave Bachman became CFO, while Guy Pedelini was appointed worldwide HR director.

The network snagged DDB Chicago's Richard DiLillo to serve as executive creative director. For North America, the heads of group networks—Torre Lazur McCann, Regan Campbell Ward McCann, McCann HumanCare and Adair-Greene—continue to report to CEO Richard Nordstrom.

McCann Healthcare also reorganized its medical education business into two global “footprints,” with Caudex and Complete. Former North American Complete CEO Gail Flockhart now heads Caudex.

“We've really advanced our organizational platform in medical communications and how we'll take advantage of those opportunities,” says Nordstrom, noting that while McCann's DTC business is still growing strongly, “the growth trend in medical communications is exponential.” Asia-Pacific, in particular, has proven a boon for the business, followed by North America and Europe, Nordstrom says.

The trend toward medical communications is being driven by clunky pipelines. “Where new drugs are fewer and farther between, our clients have moved upstream in terms of investment,” says Nordstrom, “so we have been able to leverage the breadth of our capabilities to take advantage of that spending.”

“Upstream,” in McCann vernacular, means moving from post-approval promotion to market shaping—patient education, disease awareness, medical communications and approvals preparation. In-country expertise makes these market conditioning techniques valuable at a time when every launch and every market counts all the more for a dearth of new products.

McCann, more than most, aspires to be the most global of agency networks. Nordstrom says that while growth has leveled off in the US, companies are expanding promotion overseas and clients are translating talk about global brand-building into action. McCann's positioning has helped bring in global integrated assignments for GSK's asthma awareness program and Novartis-Idenix Hepatitis B vaccines.

“That's where the growth is really coming from,” says Nordstrom. “Global pitches are driving revenue across the network.”

Torre Lazur McCann
After changes at the top and a divestiture of its West Coast operations to sibling Regan Campbell Ward, Torre Lazur McCann moved forward with new business from GSK, Sepracor and Novartis.

The group's flagship medical shop saw the elevation of Marci Piasecki as chief executive for US operations. The appointment of Piasecki, a former GSK marketer who had most recently headed East Hanover, NJ-based Echo Torre Lazur, followed the departure of CEO Beverly Breitenbach. Prior to that, founder and longtime chairman Joe Torre also departed. Torre will now serve as managing director for healthcare at McCann parent Interpublic. Joe Poggi took over Piasecki's role at Echo Torre Lazur as she made her move to the Parsippany mothership.

Torre Lazur picked up a slew of assignments on experimental products, including a respiratory product from GSK, a Hepatitis B product from Novartis and Idenix, and developmental drugs from Adams Respiratory Therapeutics. In addition to these wins, the shop pitched and retained the Fragmen business following its acquisition by Eisai.

Echo Torre Lazur added Arformoterol for COPD to its lucrative Sepracor business, including both Lunesta and Xopenex. The firm's managed markets practice picked up assignments for Sanofi-Aventis/BMS' Plavix, along with Novartis' Lotrel, Allergan's ophthalmics franchise and Eisai's Fragmen, among others.

On the downside, Adams elected to take its Mucinex consumer business in-house. Torre Lazur also declined to pitch on a consolidation of the Ortho McNeil neurologics franchise, from which it held assignments on two brands, due to a conflict. Eisai stopped promoting Zonegran, which previously had been handled by Echo Torre Lazur.

Torre Lazur McCann has its eye on industry trends. In addition to its burgeoning managed markets practice, the shop has reorganized its multimedia practice into a hot-desk strategic function servicing clients throughout the group. “We're offering new ideas and a full multimedia solution to clients looking at print, interactive, sales, journals, whatever,” says Piasecki. “We see our volume of business in that area growing.” The shop named Brett Nichols VP director of interactive media and added interactive business on its Plavix and Ethicon Endosurgery accounts.
Piasecki says that as clients are seeking efficiencies, agencies must figure out how to offer them more for less. “We are more than capable of answering that call. The challenge is trying to determine where we can realize those efficiencies without cutting back on idea generation or strategic planning and becoming a commodity, but everyone can tighten execution and implementation.”

Regan Campbell Ward • McCann
The New York-based agency adopted the McCann name and rolled up sibling Torre Lazur McCann's San Diego office into its own burgeoning three-year-old West Coast shop, along with its Truvada HIV direct-to-patient business from Gilead.

RCW McCann scored some big new West Coast accounts for the new shop, winning Genentech's Herceptin for breast cancer, the launch of Nexavar (sorafenib) for advanced renal cell carcinoma from Bayer and Emeryville, CA-based Onyx and Aceon and Ranexa from Palo Alto's CV Therapeutics. In addition, RCW pulled in new business from derm firm Barrier Therapeutics. The shop continues to handle Allergan's Restasis.

Managing partner Maureen Regan said revenues were up around 20% for 2005—a drop from 2004's 45% growth, but hardly a disappointment. “Last year was a very difficult one for a lot of our competitors,” says Regan. “We're very blessed that we were able to maintain good growth.”
Regan says RCW has made good use of its interactive division, MedRageous, as DTC spending has dropped off and clients have shifted much of that into DTP. “Where people were doing mass advertising, DTP is a lot more cost efficient for many brands,” says Regan. Cost efficiencies as well as patient compliance and regulatory compliance are driving DTP growth, and clients are becoming more sophisticated about one-to-one communications, Regan says, moving beyond DTRV and Web sites.

Not satisfied with its bicoastal stretch, the shop has taken its work global—notably with the Nexavar roll-out. “That's another reason we added McCann formally to our masthead,” said Regan. “We're seeing more and more of our business headed in that direction, and having global capabilities is now the price of entry.”

Adair-Greene Healthcare Communications
McCann Healthcare's Atlanta satellite picked up peachy new accounts from Roche Diagnostics and Terumo Interventional Systems as it shifted focus from emerging brands to its strong suit in medical devices and diagnostics.

The Atlanta agency won the centralized lab business at Roche Diagnostics and won the US interventional business for Terumo, a Japanese firm with US headquarters in Somerset, NJ. The firm also strengthened its relationship with Stiefel, adding the Atlanta company's eczema treatment MimyX to its portfolio, which includes Steifel's top seller, Duac. On the debit side, the firm parted ways with Hospira.

Adair-Greene also shifted its positioning through a tweaking of its eye-catching campaign. The firm is no longer singing the “Young Brand Blues.” Instead, it's the “Agency Blues.”

“We modified the original positioning,” said Jay Levy, president of Adair-Greene. “We've had a lot of success over the past couple years in the medical devices and diagnostics arena. We know how to work with them, we understand them and we want to continue to expand in that segment.”
Like all regional shops outside of the Northeast and West Coast hubs, Adair-Greene has to work harder to attract new business and maintain a stable of clients spread out across the US. Recruiting and retaining staff is a constant challenge, says Levy, though the shop has been blessed with low turnover in recent years.

The firm continues to service the healthcare and hospital divisions of major device and diagnostics players. These include Kimberley-Clark, Boston Scientific and King Pharmaceuticals, for which it handles top-selling Thrombin-JMI.

McCann HumanCare
McCann's DTC shop won Pfizer's Aricept—a nice consolation prize for the shelving of Bextra—and grew its business with GSK.

The firm launched unbranded work for Pfizer's Viagra and GSK's Paxil CR, along with new branded campaigns for Medpoint's Astelin nasal spray, Sepracor's Lunesta, GSK's Coreg and Avodart. On the downside, McCann HumanCare lost the business for a pre-market Novartis diabetes product to DDB Rx.

McCann HumanCare continues to cross-pollinate with sibling agencies—most notably with CRM shop MRM, which it collaborates with on six accounts, and FutureBrand. McCann also cross-markets brand-design shop FutureBrand, events promotion arm Momentum, PR firm Weber Shandwick and young adult agency TAG with HumanCare. “That offering is starting to percolate,” says McCann HumanCare head Andrew Schirmer. “One of the biggest trends affecting advertising and communications is the multitude of touchpoints, and clients are struggling with measurement and deployment.”

HumanCare is also finding opportunities outside the US in strategic planning and consumer insights, and recently established offices in both Tokyo and London. And the firm is looking outside pharmaceuticals, handling projects for Intel and the University of Arizona health system. “Our bread and butter continues to be pharmaceuticals, but we've expanded into technology and hospitals,” says Schirmer. Intel, a McCann Worldwide marquee client, is tapping the firm's expertise as it explores opportunities in healthcare.

Good old-fashioned mass-market DTC isn't going anywhere, says Schirmer, but expertise on a multi-channel approach is more in demand. “For many afflictions that affect millions of people, you simply can't abandon broadcast media, but you need to effectively supplement it and surround it,” he says.

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