Just like every other organization, Publicis Health Media had to devise ways to navigate the tumult of the past two years. But with the chaos came some silver linings, especially in terms of resilience. 

By way of example, Publicis Health Media president Andrea Palmer points to the company’s flagship HealthFront event. “We’ve planned, unplanned and replanned it three times,” she says, noting that the firm started to map out its return to in-person work and events at the end of 2021.

“The resilience of the agency in doing things we’re used to doing, and then doing them in new ways, has been incredible.” To wit: the 2022 Publicis Health Media HealthFront was staged over two days in April to raves from clients and guests alike.

Publicis Health Media had another fine year on the financial front, growing revenue from 2020’s take of $110 million to $128 million in 2021, a 16% spike. Staff size rose in tandem, from 527 at the start of the year to 635 at the end of it. Most of the growth was driven by existing clients, including Novartis, Merck and most other pharma A-listers looking for media support.

“We prioritize growing with our current clients first,” Palmer stresses. “We’re always in pursuit of what that
next new client relationship can be, but we’re really proud of the longevity that we have with a lot of our client relationships and how we’ve built relationships that have so much depth.”

However, the agency did add several new programs and capabilities, all geared toward upping its already formidable content game. Among the additions: Characters Like Me, a podcast series launched in partnership with iHeart Media, which delved into different health conditions via fictional audio content.

“These products are designed to help our clients have access to better content creation and learn how to harness trends in a way that’s meaningful for healthcare, such as by using podcasting in a more turnkey, palatable way,” Palmer explains. “We want help our clients take full advantage of those emerging channels.”

The agency also debuted Inclusive Point of Care, a program designed to “address gaps and insensitivities in current care networks, specifically with marginalized patient groups,” as the agency puts it.

“There’s a distinct opportunity for us to redefine point of care,” Palmer says. “We want to take a different approach to the definition of what the point of care can be, and take it beyond legacy or heritage tactics such as wall boards and exam room screens.”

Palmer expects Publicis Health Media to continue adding capabilities of this kind in the months and years ahead.

“We’ve been able to crack some codes that we’ve been working through for a while,” Palmer says. “The goal is to continue to push the boundaries of what has historically been considered healthcare media.” 

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Work from outside pharma you admire…

There have been so many admirable media moments, but I’m particularly fond of Extra gum’s For When It’s Time spot. It was relatable, exuberant and landed at exactly the right moment. Even the musical score tracked with the collective consciousness at the time. — Palmer