Domanico, founding creative behind Draftfcb Healthcare, passes away at 74

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Photo credit: Ric Kallaher
Photo credit: Ric Kallaher

Tom Domanico, the former chairman and CEO of what is now FCB Health, died August 24 at his home in Greenwich, CT.

Domanico, who was 74, spent the final decades of his storied advertising career at Draftfcb Healthcare, where he eventually became chairman and CEO before assuming an emeritus role until his retirement in 2013.

His journey within that organization began in 1983 when he was asked to head up Vicom Associates, a firm employing six people that was later acquired by FCB (Foote, Cone & Belding). More than three decades later,  the agency has annual US revenue of about $110 million and employs about 600 people. (The agency's brand progression looks like this: Vicom, to Vicom FCB, to FCB Healthcare, to Draft/FCB Healthcare, to Draftfcb Healthcare, to FCB Health.)

Domanico was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Queens. He studied art and advertising at New York Community College in the 1960s before taking his first agency job with the healthcare ad shop Klemtner.

He served as the lead creative director on the Roche account in the '70s while at Williams Douglas McAdams, after cutting his teeth on campaigns for Pfizer antibiotics Terramycin and Vibramycin at Klemtner. He later led Draft/FCB's work on several Merck blockbusters: the statin Zocor, osteoporosis drug Fosamax and asthma treatment Singulair.

“I used to watch these people who were going to work by train with the looks on their faces rushing to get home, rushing to get to work, always stressed, and I was smiling from ear to ear because I love what I do,” Domanico recalled in a 2014 profile in MM&M. “I was having a great time, and I felt so bad for them. I said, ‘I'm going into the office, we're having fun, we have creative challenges, we have great clients.' It was terrific.”

Domanico was part of the hiring team that brought in Dana Maiman, who now serves as president and CEO of FCB Health. The two later served together as the agency's co-CEOs. “I've always referred to him as my consigliere,” she told MM&M. “He had a genuine passion and caring for the client, for the brands he was working on and for the people he developed over the years.”

Domanico was inducted into the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame in 2014 and once served as its chairman. After his retirement, he retained a role as chairman emeritus of Draftfcb Healthcare, which was twice named agency of the year by MM&M, once in 2007 and again in 2011.

He is survived by his wife, Maritza, and two daughters, Gina and Christa.

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