Dana Maiman has led IPG Health, which houses nearly 50 healthcare marketing agency brands, since its inception in 2021. But she hasn’t stepped away from her role as president of FCB Health New York, which she characterizes as “the mothership.”
The agency has enjoyed consistent growth during her nearly two decades at the helm. MM+M estimates that FCB Health NY generated an estimated $410 million during 2022, up 10% from 2021’s estimated sum of $370 million.
FCB Health NY counted 1,469 staffers under its roofs at the end of 2022, up from 1,320 12 months earlier. Maiman proudly notes that she’s not the only company veteran, pointing to her 12-year working relationship with chief creative officer Kathleen Nanda.
Maiman adds, however, that “it’s not that we keep doing the same old, same old. Every so often, we bring in somebody new to spice it up a bit and tell us what’s happening on the outside, or to validate that what we’re doing is so different.”
Executive additions in 2022 included two FCB Health NY boomerangs: EVP/group creative directors Daniel Mailliard (who returned from Klick Health) and Fabio Rodrigues (from VMLY&R Health). The company also tapped Erico Braga as SVP, group creative director of craft and arts.
“The Craft Bar is a new offering for us,” Nanda notes. “Erico is from Africa — the agency in Brazil — and he’s legendary.”
FCB Health NY also found ways to elevate longstanding staffers, promoting six people into the new role of managing partner of account management. Maiman describes the sextet as “folks who have already contributed mightily to our success. They’re so collaborative — they form one team and one voice — and they’re working with Kathleen’s top people in a seamless way.”
Maiman attributes FCB Health NY’s growth to its flexibility. “The healthcare industry is so volatile, so dependent on data and FDA approvals, that we have to be able to pivot at a moment’s notice,” she explains, adding that consistent growth gives the company extra room to operate. “Our trajectory contributes to the stability that allows everybody to focus on what they do best, which is constantly meeting and exceeding the bar and then raising it again.”
The year’s other successes included the launch of a data visualization practice. “Gone are the pie charts and the bar charts,” Nanda says. “We’re finding new ways to make data accessible to people — to make it sing, to make it look more modern. We have all these digital tools to bring the data story to life, so how are we animating and communicating it? It can’t just be pretty; it has to be meaningful.”
On the client side, Maiman points to the firm’s work on Eli Lilly’s diabetes drug Mounjaro as particularly rewarding. She reports that FCB Health NY engineered “the fastest launch on record” on its behalf.
“It’s great that Mounjaro is an incredible product that will change the lives of people with diabetes, but that’s not enough anymore,” Maiman notes. “You need the right messages, the right marketing, the right integrated campaign and the right clients.”
Nanda adds that FCB Health NY has enjoyed similar success reinventing older OTC brands for a new generation of users — and on tiny budgets, no less. “Our work with Colace has put it back on the map,” she enthuses.
According to Nanda, the agency also found time to do more than its share of pro bono work, prioritizing it in a way that most agencies can’t or won’t.
“We don’t breeze in for a hot minute and then leave after we collect the trophy. We dig into the causes we care deeply about,” she stresses.
FCB Health NY has worked with the GMHC for seven years on challenges to the blood donation bias against gay and bisexual men. The company’s Dumb Law Paradox campaign used humor to liken the bias to other laughable laws still on the books. One example: In California, a frog that has died while competing in a frog-jumping race cannot be eaten.
At last, progress was made in easing the blood donation restrictions last year. “We kept the conversation going,” says Nanda with obvious pride.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a 2023 Agency 100 interview without the subject of AI coming up. Maiman’s take, not surprisingly, is a pragmatic one.
“So many agencies are paralyzed by the prospect of AI, and folks are saying, ‘Oh my God, I’m gonna lose my job!’” she says. “But we’re leaning right in. Whenever we’re confronted with new technology, we can’t wait to unwrap it and see how it can further what we do. What we’re saying is, ‘No, you’re not losing your job. You’re going to become so much more efficient that you’ll be able to focus on the stuff that makes you so damn special.’”
As part of that effort, FCB Health NY has formalized a partnership with Soul Machine designed to advance its AI capabilities. Using conversational design, Soul Machine produces experiences targeted at specific audiences.
“We’ve created these walking, talking spokespeople — which are AI-generated, with a lot of human intervention — that have all the conversational tools to respond, do trainings and be ambassadors,” Nanda reports.
Meanwhile, Nanda also took on the assignment of overseeing FCB Health NY’s in-house AI training. While the first session was limited to members of her creative team, the instruction quickly became a huge internal draw.
“We were inundated with requests from other departments: ‘What about us? Are the account people being left behind? And the strategists and medical folks?’” Maiman recalls.
So Nanda opened up the training to all comers, even members of the agency’s finance group. “That was really important, because we’re asking them for investment dollars. Now strategy is deep into it, medical is using it for their publication plans and our clients are coming in as well,” she says.
Maiman adds that clients have always demanded efficiency — and that AI can help the agency be more efficient without compromising its creativity or strategic flair. “That’s another reason we embrace new technologies,” she continues. “When you take away the non-rewarding, unfulfilling part of people’s workday, you have a much happier workforce.”
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Our marketing role model…
Cologuard’s spokescharacter Lil’ CG earned our admiration this year. He’s always focused and never afraid to take risks, and does whatever it takes to let people know the importance of testing for colon cancer. He’s shared the spotlight with Katie Couric, starred in a TV spot singing a classic Frank Sinatra tune and appeared in a Saturday Night Live skit alongside Woody Harrelson. To paraphrase Lil’ CG: He did it his way. [Editor’s note: FCB Health NY works on the Cologuard business.] — Nanda