Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Regan Campbell Ward • McCann had its best year yet in 2007, says strategic partner Rich Campbell, posting double-digit growth on an 8-1 win-loss record.
“Certainly from the standpoint of the industry and the economy, things don't look as rosy as in the past, but we have managed to run counter to that, and we plan on continuing,” says Campbell.
At the start of 2008, the shop spun off its med ed arm, Fission Communications, which merged with another McCann med ed property, the mainly UK-based Caudex Medical, forming a standalone unit in line with the ACCME guidelines requiring firewalls between providers and marketing companies. “It was a nice thing to be able to offer clients five or six years ago, but times have changed and customers are looking for more distance between advertising and medical education,” says Campbell. “Plus, Caudex management lives and breathes med ed. For us, we're promotion people.”
Staffing numbers remained more or less static as growth in the company's West Coast and interactive businesses made up for the divestment of Fission. Medrageous, RCW's interactive unit headed by Eugene Lee, grew by 80% in 2007—mostly on new business from existing clients, along with a few new clients previously serviced by more traditional firms. San Diego-based RCW West, which now handles around half of RCW's business, got new creative leadership, though the outpost remains mostly staffed by account services folks, with the bulk of creative handled in New York. “People have been talking about virtual for years and nobody does it,” says Campbell. “We're finally taking advantage of the technology and getting that to work.”
To that end, Randy Morris, previously associate creative director at RCW West, was promoted to creative director. “Although the majority of creative is done in New York, everybody needs some direct connection with the creative product,” says Campbell.
RCW's eight wins included two Novartis cancer drugs—Sandostatin LAR and a premarket drug, RAD001. Heading that business is Laurie Myers, who joined the company in May. The firm also handles Novartis's Aclasta/Reclast osteoporosis franchise. From GlaxoSmithKline, for which RCW handles Avandia and Coreg CR professional, the agency picked up a premarket drug for restless legs syndrome. And the shop took on the professional assignment for DVT drug Pradaxa from Boehringer Ingelheim, a new client. Medrageous won work on Merck's antifungal Cancidas.
On the debit side of the register, RCW chose not to participate in a repitch of Allergan's Restasis business, though the firm continues to handle Lap-Band. The Aclasta/Reclast osteoporosis launch, for which RCW handled US and global professional while McCann HumanCare took on consumer, was a classic McCann machine launch, making use of resources throughout McCann's far-flung global network. A rolling launch of the drug for Paget's is ongoing. RCW is also teaming up with McCann HumanCare on Amgen's AMG531, for a bleeding disorder induced by chemo and steroids.
Campbell says what makes RCW stand out is its “media-dexterousness” and the balance it strikes between creative and client services. “A lot of agencies out there are very creative and a number are very strategic,” says Campbell. “There's a much smaller intersection between them. Clients tell us we're able to bring to the party top-notch strategy coupled with top-tier creative. That really comes from our belief that, from start to finish, if it's not strategic, it can't be creative.”