When asked about what comprised the majority of FCBCure’s business in 2021, managing director Tammy Fischer responds with a proclamation.

“Launches! Launches on top of launches!” she says with a laugh. “We are very proud of the fact that we have perfected the launch in a pandemic kind of environment.”

Fischer reports that FCBCure launched 17 campaigns and eight products during 2021. Paired with assignments from client mainstays Bristol Myers Squibb, Kite and Novartis, the launch work helped the agency drive revenue up by just less than 21%, from an MM+M-estimated $48 million in 2020 to an estimated $58 million in 2021.

Fischer believes the agency’s ability to remain two steps ahead of client needs has made it an invaluable partner to organizations such as AbbVie, Novo Nordisk, Genentech and Merck.

“Launches that are done in this kind of environment require you to look at timelines differently and prepare clients for this and for that. Scenario planning is a really big part of where you build trust, comfort and confidence with clients,” she explains.

Creative partner and co-managing director Debra Polkes, who joined FCBCure last year from CDM, says not to discount the agency-culture component, however.

“It’s what everyone lives by,” she says. “We make the effort to connect all the time and make sure everyone in the agency knows each other — not just as teammates, but as human beings.”

To combat the challenges that come with hybrid work, FCBCure staffers — currently located across 22 different states — now get to know each other through Unexpected Connections, a series of bimonthly meetings during which the focus is on staffers themselves rather than work. Additionally, new hires can now avail themselves of a buddy system of sorts.

“It gives you somebody who you can turn to ask the dumb questions, because there are always questions that you don’t necessarily want to let people know that you know or don’t know,” Polkes says.

FCBCure has also gone out of its way to reinforce the crumbling boundaries between work and home life. It has put into place rules against scheduling meetings on Friday afternoon and put the kibosh on late-night emails. Fischer believes the agency has been responsive to employee concerns; it constantly seeks out feedback, especially from individuals who were recently onboarded. 

“If you’re not evolving and transforming with the new world, you’re not going to grow. Our people are our business, so we spend a lot of time working on that,” Fischer stresses.

As for what comes next, FCBCure plans to lean into Cure for the Ordinary, the company’s recently unveiled mission and vision for the future. 

“It’s a notion that the world and this industry needs different ways of looking at our clients’ problems,” Polkes explains. “We are here to cure the ordinary way of thinking about things and looking at business.”

Fischer agrees, adding, “Our people are completely invigorated by this notion and this idea, and how we’re living it.”

. . .

Work from outside pharma you admire…

Pretty much anything from Burger King, but Whopper Detour is king. It had a simple objective: get more people to download the BK app. Burger King turned this into an outrageously creative escapade that sent people to McDonald’s to ask for a Whopper, which unlocked a one cent Whopper on the BK app. It turned its smaller footprint into an advantage, poked fun at its rival and, most importantly, exceeded its business goals. — Polkes