The Top 75: Euro RSCG Life MetaMax

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Euro RSCG Life MetaMax got new leadership this year as Marc Porter and Laurel Rossi were named managing directors.
Both come from the accounts side—Porter has been with the shop for several years, most recently as EVP, director of client services, while Rossi joined from Strategy Farm, the consumer shop she sold to Havas in April (it's now Euro RSCG Worldwide Strat Farm).
“We share responsibilities pretty evenly,” says Rossi. “We have different direct reports and account assignments but by and large we collaborate on all decisions.”
Rossi's Strat Farm clients included Weight Watchers and Johns Hopkins along with non-healthcare brands like Capgemini and MasterCard. Her experience with non-pharma brands should come in handy, given MetaMax's diverse portfolio.
“We see ourselves as agents for global health and wellness,” says Rossi. “Our clients are very broad in that they include pharma brands but also prestigious health-related services brands like Johns Hopkins.”
Nearly all of the shop's assignments are global, says Rossi. About four in five are targeted to healthcare professionals, though the agency has dialed up its consumer work in recent months.
MetaMax is one of the Euro RSCG Life network's biggest, along with H4B Chelsea. The shop's staff has increased from 145 last year to 164 on 2010 revenue growth of 11%.
“We had a really terrific year in terms of organic growth,” says Rossi. “We've grown with all of our clients. We also had a nice increase in staff count and capabilities, as that growth produced a tremendous pool of talent.”
The shop won one big new account, for Pfizer Nutrition (not included in that revenue figure), and suffered two consolidation-related losses—for Endo's Lidoderm pain patch and Merck's atypical antipsychotic Saphris.
The growth with existing clients is heartening, though, and the agency is humming along, says Rossi.
“One of the big positives over the past year is that there's a real focus and everybody's grown pretty much every business in the agency, and that's been very rewarding not only financially but also culturally. When everybody's rowing in the same direction and pulling their own weight, it's very powerful culturally. There's a lot of momentum behind that.”
The firm's strategic group, led by Julie Monroid, has been instrumental in driving that growth, says Rossi. Also key has been the network's digital vanguard, Euro RSCG Life 4D, which Euro agencies use to “jump start” digital assignments as they're awarded.
“We work with them on strategy and then that group moves into the team and lives at MetaMax,” says Rossi. “It's a client-centric approach and I'd say the integration and growth of digital in our practice over the last year has been amazing.”
In addition to the new leadership, the agency hired a new planner, Ellen Gutierrez, who brings consumer expertise from Y&R, where she was SVP strategic planning. And the shop promoted Lori Spielberger to EVP, chief creative officer.
Like many of her opposite numbers in the agency world, Rossi is wrestling with keeping her shop ahead of the curve in a fast-changing environment.
“We are very focused on leading our clients,” says Rossi. “The industry's changing quickly and client needs have grown dramatically. Trying to not only stay ahead of that but be a thought leader in the space and service clients at the same time. Our strategic focus has allowed us to do that.”
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