On January 4, 2020, Juice Pharma Worldwide moved into new office space on 31st Street in Manhattan. The agency had emerged from a multiyear transitional period with its arrow pointing up, and the new space was imbued with a sense of expansive optimism. With names such as Voyage, Launch Pad, Endeavor and Cargo Bay, the conference rooms and common areas reflected a theme of exploration and discovery, as did the upgraded tech infrastructure and photo studio.
It was all-systems-go — for two months. “Now it’s like an abandoned movie set,” says founding partner Forrest King. “But the nice thing is, people are going to come back to a spotless, like-new place.”
Despite the raft of challenges posed by the pandemic, Juice held steady in 2020. Revenue ticked up about 5%, to $30.7 million from 2019’s take of $29.3 million. The agency added 19 staffers, bringing its end-of-year total to 102 across its New York and San Francisco offices.
It’s likely that some of the hundred-plus will continue to work mostly from home, but the new space “has its own gravitational pull,” King says. “We are excited to be back together closer to the end of summer.”
On the client front, Juice made three major additions to its roster: Blue Note Therapeutics, Telix Pharmaceuticals and Impel Neuropharma. In a year when many firms relied on growth from existing clients, 90% of Juice’s growth came via new business. The three newcomers are developing what Juice describes as “market-defining innovations,” a type of assignment the agency is trying to own.
“When you think about our history, we seem to gravitate to first-ever, game-changer brands,” says founding partner Lynn Macrone, who points out that the agency’s first three assignments after its founding back in 2002 were for first-of-its-kind products. King echoes the sentiment: “We want to be a culture of firsts.”
In 2021, Juice is set to launch breakthrough treatments in oncology, Alzheimer’s disease, migraine, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. “It’s kind of amazing, given where we were two years ago, to have a portfolio of firsts,” King says.
He credits the growth to Juice’s omnichannel capability, which brings marketing ops, analytics, creative, account management, strategic planning and customer experience teams to the same metaphorical table, without walls or silos and accessible to the client at all times. King says that it was in 2020 that Juice “worked out the kinks” in its omnichannel reorganization.
Meanwhile, Juice strengthened its bonds with Vivactis Group, the EU-based healthcare network. The agency has also been a member of Worldwide Partners, a global network of independent agencies, for more than a decade.
“That allows us to provide global capabilities in any market anyone would want to be in,” Macrone explains, noting that Juice can simultaneously offer boutique-style creative befitting a small independent firm.
The new space, product launches and refined capabilities have Juice setting optimistic goals for the years ahead. “We have the scaffolding of a company twice our size,” King says. “We have the infrastructure, the talent and the leadership in place to double in size. We’re built to grow.”
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The idea I wish I had…
Prep Up, a commercial for Gilead’s Descovy, is an impressive spot. The creators met the challenge of integrating varied patient types — gay, straight, bi, cis and trans, all inclusive of multiple races and cultures — in a 60-second spot. Being a minority-owned agency (50% woman-owned and 50% gay-owned), we find it rewarding to see this kind of work hitting the mainstream. — Forrest King