Top 100 Agencies: Eveo

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Mobile game developed by Eveo specifically for children with cystic fibrosis
Mobile game developed by Eveo specifically for children with cystic fibrosis

Eveo earned a reputation during its early years as a go-to shop for clients seeking project help in digital or mobile. But given the limited duration of such assignments, it was inevitable that the agency would want more. And so Eveo started pursuing digital AOR relationships with existing clients.

At this time last year, Eveo founder and CEO Olivier Zitoun said he hoped to finish 2012 with a 60/40 balance between AOR arrangements and project work. The company exceeded that goal, closing out the year with a 65/35 ratio. Before 2013 is out, he hopes to drive it further forward, to a point where 80 percent of Eveo's business is AOR-ish in nature. “We've evolved the agency from a digital project shop to a true full-service firm,” Zitoun says. “We're natively digital, but we're capable of serving brands at every stage.”

Eveo's digital heritage, he believes, is even more of an advantage now than when he founded the firm in 1999. “Other agencies are still in the process of adapting offline content for the digital world. When they're off adapting, we're creating,” he explains. The same line of thinking holds for Eveo's presence in the mobile space. Years ago, when mobile hadn't yet blipped on the radar of most firms, Eveo was already developing mobile-specific programs and platforms.

That forward-mindedness has made Eveo a favorite among clients unafraid to innovate. Watson Pharmaceuticals, Celgene and Genzyme joined the Eveo roster in recent months; Genzyme returned after nearly a decade away. The sole loss was BioMarin. “They decided to move on to another agency. It was painful, but sometimes it happens,” Zitoun says.

Mostly, the projects, products and promotions spoke for themselves. The agency got raves for the mobile game it built for Genentech—based on the arcade mainstay Dig Dug—for children with cystic fibrosis. “We don't view ourselves as game developers, so that [assignment] is something we're very proud of,” Zitoun says. He also touts a patient profiler created for Genzyme, which lets providers create detailed profiles on the fly.

Eveo also took a big step towards globalizing its business, opening its first European office in London. “Clients are going from a U.S. focus to a global focus,” Zitoun explains. “We're already adapting and translating and localizing programs for overseas markets, so why not take that next step and be there in person?”

Growth creates challenges of its own, so the company bolstered its upper-management to head them off at the pass. The hires were significant: EVP and director of client service Bob Ellis was managing director of McCann Erickson's San Francisco office, while chief strategy officer Fred Petito previously served as managing director and head of the digital strategy and user experience group at Ogilvy CommonHealth.

Up next: more investments, both in people and R&D. “We've done the work and transformed the business,” Zitoun says. “Now we're ready for pure growth.”
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