The Top 75: echo Torre Lazur
“We are expanding in all aspects,” says Bill McEllen, president of the Interpublic Group shop, which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2011 after being spun off from Torre Lazur McCann a decade ago. “We are hitting our stride on our own.”
The agency continues to focus solely on HCPs and their patients but has built out its professional services to include a lot more early stage strategic and digital work. “Roughly 25% of our work is digital,” says McEllen. A lot is spurred by existing clients shifting from print to digital. For instance, eTL has seen a fair bit of its sales force promotion driven through a tablet or an iPad.
Fifteen new faces have come on board in the last 12 months across account, creative and strategic, raising headcount to 125. Staffing up with what McEllen terms “hybrids”—those comfortable with traditional and digital promotion—is important as the agency sees its work change.
So far in 2011, eTL has added work for a new HIV treatment which current client ViiV Healthcare hopes to launch, a fixed-dose combination therapy known as 572-Trii that's now in phase III. It's also added an AOR engagement for a new roster client—Novo Nordisk and its insulin brands NovoLog and Levemir.
During the back-half of last year, eTL grew with current client Johnson & Johnson, taking on the AOR assignment for Pancreaze, a pancreatic enzyme that aids digestion in people with cystic fibrosis, and the ex-US launch for hepatitis C drug Telaprevir. McEllen traces both wins to Johnson & Johnson's 2008 consolidation into two agency holding companies, including Interpublic Group. (“Now's a good time to be in a holding company,” he quips.)
A potent cocktail with a proven cure rate and manageable side effects, telaprevir has blockbuster potential. The ex-US campaign is being run out of eTL's East Hanover, NJ, office, in conjunction with McCann Healthcare Worldwide affiliates abroad. J&J's Janssen holds marketing rights to the drug in Europe, South America, the Middle East, Africa and Australia.
Galderma, already an AOR client, awarded eTL digital responsibilities as well. The agency will be working with Galderma's Paris office as the global AOR for the acne franchise (Epiduo and Differin) and the rosacea franchise (Oracea and Metrogel).
One organic win is in limbo. After landing, and then gearing up for, the launch of Eisai heartburn drug AcipHex ER last year, the FDA has delayed approval of the extended formulation. Another existing client, GlaxoSmithKline, has stopped work for HPV vaccine Cervarix, which the agency helped introduce in early 2010.
Currently it's launching Horizant, the GSK/XenoPort drug approved this year for restless leg syndrome, as well as globally navigating GSK's flu franchise and several HIV brands for ViiV Healthcare.
McEllen considers his greatest coup to have maintained the “core independent spirit” of his agency while expanding. “One of the beauties of echo is having…the size of an agency where senior managers really do work day to day with clients. Keeping that structure in place through growth is a huge accomplishment, and one honestly I know our clients appreciate.”