Medical agency Wishbone was acquired years ago, but the leadership team behind the shop is coming out of retirement with a new venture, dubbed Calcium.
The name is a nod to their old vehicle—bought first by Rosetta in 2010 and then absorbed into Publicis the following year—and an allusion to the brand building that they say a small shop like theirs does better.
“It's the big agency experience without the bureaucracy,” says Steven Michaelson, who serves as the shop's CEO alongside his Wishbone partners Renee Mellas (president), Judy Capano (head of strategy) and Todd Neuhaus (creative director). Apart from a few full-time administrative, studio and editorial hands, they're it.
“Everyone in the industry is tired of being forced to work within the network model, where they have to leverage people of that caliber across five or ten brands with a lot of people working under them,” said Michaelson. “We're getting back to the thing that made Wishbone successful before we grew to 80 people and spent our time managing the employees rather than the business.”
The full-service shop, based in Midtown Manhattan, has an anchor account with Cardionet, and just launched a campaign for the company's portfolio of ambulatory ECG monitoring systems. They're also doing project work on Avanir's pseudobulbar effect drug Nuedexta.
"Clients who want to take a chance with us and grow with us will get the A Team on their account," said Michaelson.
B. A. Baracus he's not, but he and his team have built a substantial business on that premise once before.