Top 100 Agencies 2015: JUICE Pharma Worldwide
JUICE Pharma Worldwide has been a rolling success story since the independent agency burst onto the scene in 2002. The minor wobble it experienced in 2013, largely due to Pfizer's aggressive agency consolidation at that time, barely affected its strategic course for expansion, and JUICE bounced back in 2014 with growth of around 10%, solidifying revenues at around the $50-million mark.
“We're solid, we're consistent, we're doing good,” confirms Lois Moran, president and CEO. “We're continuing along with the vision that we set forth and we've had some great wins that we're really happy about. Things are moving in the right direction.”
And already, Pfizer is back on board. One of a half dozen or so important pieces of new business in 2014, JUICE won the pharma giant's hemophilia franchise, comprising the BeneFIX and Xyntha Solofuse brands. And Lynn Macrone, partner and chief creative-strategic officer, is delighted.
“We were so excited to get that phone call,” says Macrone. “The team here has such a passion for hemophilia. You literally get to know the patients and their families, so to be able to reconnect with that community was just heartwarming.”
Another major win was Boehringer Ingelheim's flagship COPD brand Spiriva, for which JUICE was assigned the professional and digital work.
Other new pieces of business included: Noven's Brisdelle for menopausal hot flashes; Santen's investigational sirolimus treatment for non-infectious posterior uveitis; and Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical's pipeline portfolio.
JUICE's roster also includes longstanding client Merck (Belsomra, Isentress, Gardasil, Pneumovax and Zostavax), Acorda Therapeutics (Ampyra), Bristol-Myers Squibb (Orencia), Leo Pharma (Picato), Novartis Oncology (Afinitor, Sandostatin LAR), ProPharma (Ubera) and the National Hemophilia Foundation.
Head count in 2014 was up from 131 to 144, mirroring growth in revenues, and now sits at around 150. While JUICE's leadership and structure has remained unchanged for some time, the agency continues to bolster its strategic expertise. “We deliberately have made an investment in our two big strategy teams, digital strategy and strategic planning,” says Macrone. “We have probably doubled the size of those teams, and that continues to set us apart.”
A big milestone was the launch last year of its San Francisco office. Although currently staffed by just five people, it's an integral part of the agency's plan for growth. “Building that business and becoming a force in that area has been a fun challenge,” says Macrone. “Things are a little different over there and it's exciting to be able to be a part of that.”
The vast majority of JUICE's work—upward of 75%—is now digital. “It's so integrated at this point that we really don't think about it in that way anymore,” says Macrone.
And, it seems, demonstrating that type of integration is becoming increasingly vital. Macrone observes that an increasing number of pharma companies are looking for a single agency to work on all the components for a particular brand or franchise.
“Procurement teams are enjoying having one agency work on all of the different channels,” she says. “That's something we're doing more of and I think it's borne out of a challenge of them being more efficient. They're often challenged by having too many agencies, and they can spread themselves too thin with discussing their strategy, making sure everybody gets it right and that everything's aligned. [Having a single agency] is just a way to be more efficient with your messaging and your investment.”
To that point, while JUICE began as a largely professional agency, it now has both the physician and consumer work for most of the brands on its roster. “That was kind of borne out of our specialty roots with rare-disease clients,” says Macrone. “We're very intimately involved in their disease populations, so we've continued with both sides of the channels. And when you're working and partnering on both sides, you can guide [the client] toward a way to connect physician and patient.”
And, notes Moran, it facilitates a wiser allocation of the client's investment. “When you can orchestrate that and make sure that the conversation is going in the right direction for the brand, then you're able to be as efficient as you possibly can with your communication,” she says.
Naturally, in today's marketplace, the drive for integration, efficiency and one-stop shopping also extends to global capabilities. The JUICE Global Network has that covered, with strong partnerships in the UK, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica and China.
The agency is also an advisory board member of the world's largest network of independent agency's, Worldwide Partners, which comprises 85 agencies covering more than 50 countries.
“Clients are looking for a more cohesive brand around the world,” says Moran. “We've been in a position to lead those efforts with our regional partners and that's been very exciting.
Moran highlights a global relaunch project that started late last year that incorporated both JUICE's own network partners and global holding companies. “It was great rallying everybody together and giving rebirth to this brand,” she says. “Everybody co-created the brand, everybody had a voice and a choice. And we were the glue factor. We made it seamless really for our regional client.”
The flexibility of the global model is key, according to Moran. “It has an open feel to it,” she says. “We have our partners and we are also excited to work with other partners in the region. There's leadership and there's quality. And it's easier for our clients because if there's an agency they enjoy working with, they have a choice. It's all about integration and collaboration with the lead agency, and it's been very successful.”
JUICE has always taken a collaborative approach with its clients and both Moran and Macrone feel this has led to its increasingly prominent role as a true strategic partner to the industry.
“What's kind of fun,” says Macrone, “is when the [client's] team maybe has people that are newer to marketing, and they're able to lean on us to help them through different types of launch strategies and filing strategies. To help new marketing teams learn and grow has been rewarding.”
Moran notes this close collaboration also extends to clients' procurement teams (“They're our partner as well, we want to solve their issues”) and their med-legal people (“We have a great idea of what is going to be appropriate. It's really quite smooth, believe it or not”).
And it's this type of relationship that fosters innovation. “What we're finding oftentimes is that innovation doesn't have to be so brand-new,” says Moran. “It could be something that may have worked in another discipline, but you're able to carry it over. Clients look to us to bring that kind of thinking and that creativity so that they can see innovation in their world and be comfortable with it.”
As for the immediate future, Moran says JUICE will continue with its strategic plan for growth. “As always, we want to continue to build on our consumer foothold. And we want to grow in oncology, obviously.”
However, Macrone insists the agency will always remain true to its roots: “We want to have that goal as an entrepreneur, with the soul of a small company but with the muscle of a big company. We always want to protect that and be that, and stand out in that way.”