In 2009 and early 2010, Eveo devoted much of its attention to a structural evolution. The firm hung a shingle in New York (dubbed Evea), spun off its medical animation/augmented reality and mobile units into separate entities (EvLab and Ev2, respectively) and jumped its overall staff count to 150. During all this, it earned new-kid-on-the-block buzz and a host of industry plaudits.
In the second half of 2010 and the first half of 2011, then, Eveo set about enjoying the fruits of that organizational labor. “It was a very important year for us, very transformational,” says agency founder and chief executive officer Olivier Zitoun—who, unlike many of his peers, doesn't hesitate to disclose revenue figures. The firm grew an impressive 36%, from $20 million in 2009 to $28 million in 2010.
At the same time, with the new size and structure and rapidly expanding client roster came a host of new challenges. Zitoun freely admits that some pain came with the growth. “We had to hire people and think about training, ensuring that the client focus would be preserved,” he explains. “Maintaining and fostering what you already have while you're growing is tricky. We had to retool the agency a bit.”
Similarly, Eveo's expanding geographical footprint prompted some headaches, mainly on the internal-communications front. “Being on different coasts—our studios and production [facilities] are in one place, but many of our people are in New York. This was the first time we had to deal with something like that,” he continues. “We're a much better organization for the experience. In the future, we'll be able to add new offices more easily.” Targets include Europe—sooner rather than later—and Philadelphia.
Eveo proved stronger for its struggles. Over the last year, it migrated 12 brands to its proprietary iPad platform. It pushed past the 80-person mark in San Francisco and the 20-person mark in New York. Most essentially, it added 30 new brands to its roster.
Highlights include Novartis (for the company's multiple sclerosis and transplant franchises), Amgen (for a handful of brands, including metastatic colorectal cancer therapy Vectibix) and Genentech (for Activase, which treats acute ischemic strokes). Eveo also scratched one big pharma player off its client bucket list when Johnson & Johnson tapped it for project work with its Ethicon subsidiary. “So many of these companies and products were on our list for a long time. It's very gratifying,” Zitoun says.
Through it all, Eveo's work on clients' behalf evolved rapidly; nearly every program boasted some sort of digital component. One singled out by Zitoun as an example of the breadth of Eveo's offerings is a Genentech program designed to promote Pulmozyme, a cystic fibrosis therapy. Given that children are its primary patient population, Eveo attempted to heighten awareness—and tell a story—in a far simpler way than it otherwise might have. The animated video is serious in tone but playful in execution; the production team included multiple individuals who have worked on Pixar films in the past.
“[The program] shows how we think a little differently and certainly showcases what we can do with animation,” Zitoun says. “Even in a very regulated space, I think it's possible to tell a complex story in a very simple way. I'd like to see us do more [programs like this] with other brands.”