The year’s biggest happening at McCann Health New York went down in November, when oversight of the agency shifted to the leaders of IPG Health sibling Area 23, group president Renée Mellas and chief creative officer Tim Hawkey. The move consolidated best practices for two firms that, before the McCann Health and FCB Health networks were united under the IPG Health banner in July 2021, tended to do things their own way.

“With the advent of IPG Health, it was the perfect time,” Mellas recalls. “More than ever, we’re operating in what’s a little bit more like an open architecture model, with very individual brand personalities.” Both Mellas and Hawkey retain their leadership roles at Area 23, Area 23 on Hudson and IPG Health Canada.

What does this change mean for McCann Health New York’s clients? On the account management side, they can expect the crumbling of longstanding silos as well as “different leadership teams at different levels,” Mellas adds.

Hawkey gives another example: “If we have a single social listening tool or a proprietary tool or an approach to project management and project tracking, that can increase efficiencies across agencies.”

MM+M estimates that McCann Health New York revenue rose 2% in 2022, to $92 million from an estimated $90 million in 2021. Key clients and brands included Janssen’s immunology franchise (including Tremfya and Stelara), Novartis’ cardio drug pelacarsen and GSK’s endometrial cancer treatment Jemperli. Hawkey characterizes the latter assignment as “an oncology beachhead that we can build a new oncology offering around.”

For her part, Mellas points to McCann Health New York’s work on Sanofi’s flu vaccine as one of the year’s highlights. The campaign, I’m Just the Flu, used wolf imagery to play on the metaphor of  “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” to remind
COVID-weary consumers that the flu is still here and still very dangerous. The campaign helped fuel a fivefold increase in requests for Sanofi vaccines, Mellas reports, adding that 1.3 million more people received a flu shot in its wake.

“People say they want the flu vaccine, but they seldom ask for it by a brand name,” she notes.

McCann Health New York also claimed two Pfizer brands, including migraine blockbuster Nurtec, during 2022. The relationship could come in handy as Pfizer conducts its much-ballyhooed agency consolidation exercise.

Staff size grew from 325 people at the start of 2022 to 350 at the end of it. Notable arrivals included EVP, group management directors Kathleen Gillooly (an alum of two other IPG Health agencies) and Jason West (a pharmacist by training). 

As Mellas and Hawkey look to the future, they view their arrival at McCann Health New York as both a boon for the agency and a challenge. “We acknowledge that we’re new leaders at a time-honored organization. And change management, no matter how you look at it, is never easy,” Hawkey says.

Mellas agrees, adding, “We want to find a way to leverage McCann and what made it the brand it is, but also evolve it.” 

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Our marketing role model…

Jeff Goldblum. He’s smart, suave and always au courant — and just a little quirky. He has range, appearing on Broadway, in weird commercials and alongside Charles Bronson, Tilda Swinton and Groot. He has saved the world and made us laugh, sometimes in the same scene. He does indies and blockbusters. But despite the awards, Goldblum never rests on his laurels. You never know if he’ll be the leading man, the supporting actor or the hilarious cameo. When you need a brainiac who gets noticed no matter where he appears, where else would you turn? — Hawkey

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