In the immediate wake of its 2018 launch as a distinct brand, Imre Health earned a reputation as a social disruptor in the life sciences space. The agency nearly doubled its revenue in each of its first two years; a slight slowdown in growth to 15% during pandemic-stricken 2020 was in large part due to a concerted effort to diversify its client base.
Fast forward to mid-2022, and it’s no longer accurate to call Imre Health a social disruptor. “The vast majority of our work is what I consider digital AOR work,” says partner Jeff Smokler. “Sometimes that includes social, but there are very few clients we have today for whom we just do single-stack social marketing.”
To that end, Imre Health has invested heavily in data, analytics, medical expertise and media, while simultaneously “doubling down on our heritage of digital and social,” says CEO Dave Imre. Pretty much everything seemed to work: Revenue surged from $24 million in 2020 to $45.1 million in 2021 — an 88% spike — and the agency nearly doubled its head count, opening the year with 118 people on hand and ending it with 235.
The company added a host of leaders in 2021, including H4B Chelsea veteran Anna Kotis as president, Imre Health, and three others in newly created roles: chief data officer Matthew Zogby, head of data science Chris Lang and VP of media Courtney Hanson.
Bringing a wider array of expertise in-house gave the company control of more of the levers of omnichannel. “We’re not looking to take over and become a huge media agency,” Smokler says. “We’re looking to be able to meet our clients’ needs.”
Imre puts it more bluntly: “We are building an airplane and flying it at the same time — and it’s damn exciting.”
Clients responded in kind. Imre Health added 13 accounts in 2021, growing its oncology portfolio with wins from
GlaxoSmithKline, Genentech and Aveo (on kidney cancer drug Fotivda). It also snared a pair of rare disease assignments (on Lokelma and Saphnelo) from roster mainstay AstraZeneca.
Imre Health also added six brands last year from Viatris, the company formed from the merger of Pfizer Upjohn and Mylan. Two of those brands, Viagra and Lyrica, had already been in the agency’s portfolio.
Smokler says the additions are an example of the agency’s social media prowess paying off. “You hardly ever see a Viagra ad anymore on television; you see it on Facebook,” he explains. By May 2022, the agency’s relationship with Viatris had expanded to include nine brands.
As for Imre Health’s rapidly expanding workforce, a few dozen of its people don’t work in any of Imre Health’s four offices. Last summer, the agency introduced Work From Anywhere, a policy that allows employees to, well, work from anywhere.
“It’s on our business card,” Imre says. “Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, LA and WFA.”
Smokler, for his part, doesn’t see the pace of growth slowing anytime soon. “One thing Imre has historically been good at is preparing for the future,” Smokler says. “We didn’t just stumble into digital AOR work. That was a thoughtful and intentional expansion.”
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Work from outside pharma you admire…
The realness of the 2021 Bombas Pride Collection campaign really struck me. As an agency founded on building and nurturing an inclusive culture, it’s admirable what an apparel company founded on sock sales can do to build and affect the LGBTQ+ community. With this collection, Bombas transcended socks with a campaign that took an inclusive approach to model selection and presented a charitable give that matched products for LGBTQ+ community members in need. — Smokler