While some agencies tout their expertise in a specific therapeutic category or type of work, Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness president Jennifer Shirley sees the diversity of the company’s roster as a primary source of its strength. In fact, that was one of the primary reasons she returned to S&S Wellness two years ago after previously serving as its director of client services. 

“I love the balance that we have in different therapeutic areas, but also between HCPs and consumers,” she says. “Our range of clients goes from OTC and wellness to rare disease and oncology. We cover it all, honestly.”

To that point, S&S Wellness is creating a specialty in women’s health, returning to aesthetics work and expanding in CMS. The agency’s broadening therapeutic remit translated into a 13% bump in revenue during 2021, to an MM+M-
estimated $90 million from an estimated $80 million in 2020.

Of course, none of this is to suggest S&S Wellness is shying away from its wellness-first mandate. EVP, business development Steven Hebert says the agency continues to view its focus on wellness as a true distinguishing feature, and stresses that the company’s commitment to it is constantly expanding.

“We launched and clarified the ‘Wellness Effect,’ which is our positioning,” he explains. “Our products don’t just treat illness but inspire wellness. It broadens the frame of our offering.”

Head count grew from 350 full-timers at the start of the year to 400 at the end of it. Shirley is particularly enthused about the addition of EVP, director of digital solutions Amit Awasthi. 

“We have strong technology capabilities at the corporate level and across other Publicis Health agencies, but we wanted to strengthen our own capabilities here at Saatchi,” she explains. “Amit is part of our pitches and he understands what we need to deliver from an omnichannel standpoint.”

S&S Wellness has similarly been exploring new approaches to the creation of data-driven personalized marketing over the last year.

“Everyone talks about personalization and scale, but we actually deliver in a unique way,” Shirley continues. “We partner with [Publicis sibling] Epsilon to figure out how to use data to shape the experiences we create for our audiences. We have a proprietary patient journey, not just a cookie-cutter one, and we map the experience along the way.”

Global chief creative officer Kathy Delaney agrees, adding, “It informs the creative work and allows you, as a creative, to come up with empathetic and knowledgeable communications that people want to engage with.”

As for evolving agency culture and practices in the sort-of-post-COVID era, Hebert says a single word encompasses S&S Wellness’ approach to the new normal and everything that comes with it: trust. 

“Mandating ‘this is how it is going to be’ is going to fail,” he explains. “Everyone we hire wants to be successful in their jobs and for their clients. It comes down to trusting our people to decide how and where they can be the most effective.” 

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Work from outside pharma you admire…

We can never get enough of Progressive’s Not Your Parents campaign. It is a great example of an amazing insight leading to creative that resonates on a deeper level — and it makes us laugh at ourselves along the way. — Kathy Delaney, global chief creative officer