One of independent agency LevLane’s greatest achievements in 2019 came in the distant wake of a discussion that took place way back in 2016. That’s when the fledging agency first sat down with Agile Therapeutics and learned about a new product it was working on: Twirla, a combined hormonal contraceptives patch.

Timmy Garde, LevLane’s chief innovation officer, recalls that the meeting felt different from the usual get-to-know-you klatch. “Our brain trust had looked at all the issues and challenges in the women’s health marketplace,” he says. “But instead of doing a capabilities presentation, we came to the table with real thinking.”

That thinking was delivered in full-court-press form, with eight LevLane people joining three Agile execs at the table. “We mobilized our senior strategy team, our creative team, our campaign leader folks and our payer folks. We knew that we were going to have one shot to not only talk about our capabilities, but to talk about what we thought would be some real issues in the marketplace regarding contraception and the Affordable Care Act,” Garde continues. “We came to the table with a good grasp of the issues and had a lively discussion that was actually more like a strategic immersion session.”

The fruits of that first meeting will come to bear later this year: Twirla passed FDA muster in February and Garde says LevLane is just as excited as its client-side peers. “We’ve become an extension of their team, from the C-level folks all the way through every part of the business,” he enthuses.

The Agile relationship wasn’t last year’s only highlight. LevLane claimed eight new accounts in 2019, including an AOR assignment for United Concordia Dental. These and other roster additions (work from U.S. Digestive Health, Tacoma Lutheran, women’s reproductive health company ObsEva, assisted living firm Blakeford and long-term residential facility Reata Glen) comprised 25% of LevLane’s 2019 growth, which took the agency from $10 million in 2018 revenue to $11 million.

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To build on this growth, LevLane bolstered its services lineup in 2019 with the introduction of a new data analytics practice as well as consumer profile development and social influencer initiatives. The additions necessitated several new hires, among them manager, data analytics Shravan Hemchand; manager, UX/UI services John Nacey; executive creative director Martin Biel; and director of operations Christine Lagana Mariani. Head count reached 75 at the end of 2019, up from 65 the year prior.

Amid the growth, Garde says LevLane is committed to remaining true to its agency DNA. To that end, LevLane created a culture committee and instituted monthly, quarterly and Friday gatherings. The meetings, which were designed to get everyone together and celebrate the company’s successes, have new meaning during the pandemic.

Employees receive kudos as well as monetary rewards during the meetings. “It keeps LevLane spreading the love,” Garde says.

The best marketing we saw in 2019…

Nurx is a revolutionary and innovative company capitalizing on the way healthcare is being delivered to women. The company is brave in its marketing and in how it communicates to women who are in need of affordable and accessible medications and tests. Its approach breaks the traditional models of choice, control and freedom. — Timmy Garde