Top 100 Agencies: CAHG

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A CAHG piece for Alcon's Durezol
A CAHG piece for Alcon's Durezol

CAHG formalized a partnership with Omnicom Group sibling TBWA\WorldHealth in early 2012 to create TBWA\WorldHealth network with 48 offices in 36 countries. CAHG is the lead US agency for the network.

CAHG president and CEO Scott Cotherman, who also serves as chairman of TBWA\WorldHealth network, says the relationship has “flourished from day one” and provided a strong platform for growth.

“It helps us compete and thrive more effectively on a much larger stage,” Cotherman explains. “The partnership was behind just about every new business win and new product launch last year.”

New business highlights included both global and US AOR status on Gilead's sofosbuvir (hepatitis C).

“Gilead selected us as a result of CAHG's deep expertise in the US, global experience in virology, and our partnership with TBWA\WorldHealth network's Paris hub,” Cotherman says.  

Work expanded on Shire's VPRIV (gaucher disease) from US AOR to include digital AOR work. New client ThromboGenics awarded an assignment to recruit clinical trial patients.

“The move to specialty pharma is real and we're finding great success with clients that have specialty products to treat diseases where there's significant unmet need,” Cotherman says. “We recently announced a partnership with Diaceutics, a firm that does very early-phase consulting with clients in the area of personalized medicine. The partnership, known as Bioceutics, supplements our investment in our personalized healthcare practice.” 

Commoditization is among the challenges Cotherman sees facing the industry. “We're seeing RFPs that describe the marketing situation as introducing a new product that will be a third-line agent behind generics,” he says. “I don't ever recall seeing a potential new business opportunity in which a client wants its product to be third behind commodity products. That's a significant signal of the commoditization of primary care products.”

Cotherman notes ideas about innovation have shifted over the last several decades from a focus on drug discovery to one geared toward how to build business and deliver communications programs.

“Many clients talk about the clear need for innovation in commercial strategy, and at the same time they express a clear lack of appetite for risk,” Cotherman says. “They want to see a proven program that someone else has taken the risk on and that's been demonstrated to work, and they want us to make it a new idea for them. That was profound to realize, and it led to many discussions about how our business needs to change on the agency side. It's not just about marketing communications anymore. We have to think about pure business-building strategies for clients in areas that may not be core to what an agency typically does.”  

Cotherman and Hervé Brunette, president TBWA\WorldHealth Europe, are working closely on new business development, existing business, expanding offerings and opening hub offices in key markets globally.

Priorities this year include expanding TBWA\WorldHealth's Mexico City office into a hub and expanding presence in the Asia Pacific market. An office in San Francisco opened this May, putting teams closer to West Coast clients and prospects.
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