For the second year in a row, Ogilvy Health reshuffled its C-suite. Kim Johnson took over for global CEO Kate Cronin, who left to become Moderna’s first chief brand officer, while Adam Hessel assumed the chief creative officer, North America slot that opened when Renata Florio left to become executive creative lead for Ogilvy client Nestlé North America.

Not surprisingly, Johnson reports that as agency management changed, so did its approach. “Increasingly, we’re focused on diversifying the work because healthcare itself is diversifying,” she explains. “We like to say every brand is interested in health and wellness even well outside of our industry.”

As a result, Ogilvy Health finds itself working in the realms of consumer health, animal health and mass-market general wellness in addition to its big-pharma stronghold. Recent additions to the roster included Gilead Sciences, as part of an AOR engagement for an oncology drug. 

“What we’re finding is that our work is becoming less project-based,” Johnson says. “Regardless of what the point of entry with a client might be, whether it’s public relations or medical communications or market access, we’re doing good work. And our clients are appreciating that work and giving us more opportunity to create value with them through different service lines.”

Revenue and head count held steady in 2021 at an MM+M-estimated $145 million and an estimated 700 employees.

The company will continue its modernization in 2022, as detailed in the multi-pillar Ogilvy Health Impact plan: “It’s about our people, our clients and our transformation — and we very purposely put people first.” 

Recent hire Liz Kane, who joined the agency in February as chief strategy officer, is leading that particular charge, focusing on brand-building and the agency’s strategic roadmap.

“There have been various models that we, as an agency, have explored over the years. There’s a real attitude of, ‘Let’s up our game, let’s modernize how we approach it, let’s go deeper,’” Kane explains. “Since I’ve arrived, I’ve felt an openness to new ways of thinking and to leaning heavily into the notion of brand purpose and doing meaningful work, because that’s what the majority of our employees sign up for.” 

This includes a strategy the agency has dubbed “connecting,” a free-flow behavioral change approach to ethnographic research. 

“We’re finding new models in a virtual environment where we can go deep and create models to get to a deeper kind of emotive insight. It will be a huge part of how we show up for clients,” Kane says. 

Another new internal unit, the newly created experience and innovation center of excellence, houses the agency’s engagement strategy, field engagement solutions, EHR/point-of-care solutions, and technology and analytics practices. It’s led by Corina Kellam, who joined the agency last year and was recently promoted to EVP, experience and innovation.

“We can come to the client more proactively with a full integrated experience solution that includes all those channels and all those content opportunities,” Johnson says. 

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Work from outside pharma you admire…

Ladder Life Insurance’s commercial is a fresh approach in a typically dull category. It features a man returning home, narrowly evading his family’s attempts to kill him (even the dog). The tagline puts a perfect bow on it: “Life insurance so good, they’re gonna want you dead.” Even the legal disclaimer is great: “But seriously, intentionally killing a policyholder will void all life insurance benefits.” This is everything advertising should be. — Adam Hessel, chief creative officer, North America