The Top 50: Draftfcb Healthcare

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Draftfcb Healthcare has expanded organically with major wins from GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers Squibb, added some new accounts and brought in two C-level execs. Now it’s leveraging new partner Draft’s deep capabilities in relationship marketing to mine further insights for clients.

Those accomplishments add to a list that already had been impressive enough for MM&M to name Draftfcb Healthcare its 2007 Agency of the Year. The decision followed the June 2006 merger by Interpublic Group of its Draft and FCB units. DTC shop Draftfcb NY emerged soon after the announcement, and Draftfcb Healthcare renamed itself in January.

How’s that going? “Swimmingly,” notes co-CEO and president Dana Maiman. “Draft did not have a professional healthcare agency, so they’ve embraced us with open arms.”

The embrace hasn’t been totally one-sided. Draft brings major CRM chops. In January Maiman told MM&M, “We’re definitely going to take that prowess and adapt it to the professional audience.” And adapt it they have: Level One is Draftfcb’s newly created healthcare professional relationship marketing group.

“[Level One] is one of the bigger synergies we’ve had,” says Harold Corbran Jr., Draftfcb Healthcare’s new EVP/COO. Corbran, formerly COO of the marketing services group at Euro RSCG Life, has direct responsibility for the new unit.

In the pharma sector, CRM is usually based on physician prescribing behavior. “What we see missing,” Corbran explains, “is the true behavioral aspect—how, when and why physicians make decisions.” To that end, he continues, “the strength of the Draft side comes from the analysis of…a conglomerate of data that come out of call reports, symposia attendance. Any touch point we have with a physician or professional should then be captured, analyzed and drive our next move.”

The agency counts five other new initiatives that were started this past year: Project X-Ray, a spin-off acting as global AOR on Pfizer’s antibiotic Zmax, migraine drug Relpax and women’s health line and headed by new hire Matt Lane, EVP/group management director; Connect Tech, dedicated to closed-loop marketing (CLM) on programming platforms like Proscape, Exploria and Skura; Rated Rx, specializing in interactive motion graphics including Web design; The Clinic, an express studio division; and Innovate to Invigorate Council, which interfaces with IPG’s Emerging Media Lab to leverage new media for clients.

These have followed big account wins from existing clients, including GSK’s migraine therapy Imitrex and successor Trexima—both of which the agency pitched after GSK pledged to move all professional business over to IPG agencies from WPP; its anticoagulant Argatroban in conjunction with Arixtra (fondaparinux); and Bosatria for hypereosinophilic syndrome.

BMS delivered its belatacept immunosuppressant and HIV treatments Sustiva and Reyataz, and made Draftfcb AOR for media, while Roche made the agency global AOR for arthritis drug Actemra. Serono added Pergoveris for hormone deficiency, Saizen Easypod growth hormone and Gonal-f for fertility. New accounts in the last year include Bayer/Nuvelo’s alfimeprase for acute peripheral arterial occlusion, Beiersdorf’s Eucerin/Aquaphor, Neurocrine’s insomnia drug Indiplon and Talecris’ Prolastin for emphysema. Some of the newer divisions are starting to reap dividends, too. Connect Tech counts BMS, GSK and Merck as clients for its CLM platform driving tablet-based presentations by sales reps.

Major product launches for the agency included BMS/Gilead’s Atripla in September. Atripla is the combination of three HIV meds—BMS’s Sustiva and Gilead’s Truvada, which in turn combines Gilead’s Emtriva and Viread. Januvia, the oral Type 2 diabetes drug the agency won in July and launched in November, got off to a fast start. Draftfcb Healthcare is launching Janumet, which combines Januvia and metformin.

However, Draftfcb lost the account for Opana’s Endo, as well as Abbott’s diabetes care line and its weight drug Meridia and Zemplar IV/oral, a drug for treating secondary hyperparathyroidism. Patent expiry spelled an end to the GSK Wellbutrin XL account. And Arcoxia, Merck’s ill-fated COX-2 drug and another Draftfcb account, was rejected by the FDA.

Regarding the latter, Maiman remains unphased. “There’s no surprise here,” she says of a somewhat more cautious FDA. “Bottom line, there’s probably an increase in the number of approvable [letters] that get issued rather than [drugs] approved outright…but those are typical product issues that we plan for.”

Post-merger, agency heads say the main challenge for their 350-person shop is managing growth and maintaining their agency’s people-centric culture.

“[Draft] has recognized the jewel that is here,” says Tom Domanico, Draftfcb Healthcare co-CEO, chairman and worldwide creative director. Domanico—an FCB’er since day one in 1983 when predecessor Vicom opened an outpost in New York and made him creative director—says a certain attitude has stuck since those early days.

“The names have changed, but the basic culture stays the same,” he says. “[The agency] was built a certain way, and it’s about people. People that work here feel they’re part of its growth.”

To keep pace with that growth, the agency has made another major hire, bringing in Bill Young as EVP/chief administrative officer. “We had a wonderful HR department, but it was time to scale up,” Maiman explains. Young, who comes from IPG sister network Lowe Healthcare where he held the same post, has a mandate to help the agency staff up as it expands domestically and globally. (A source from Lowe says Young’s move was an amicable one.)

“As an agency, we’ve enjoyed explosive growth, Maiman adds. “The key to managing that growth is talent. Bill’s strategy…is keeping the pipeline full…We are in constant interview mode, which means identifying the right candidates for this place. So, should a client be willing to ramp up—should we get a tremendous new business opportunity—we’re able to push that button as quickly as possible and get those new folks in here.”

Senior managers also are looking at the other end of the equation—retention—and this is where Draftfcb is trying to preserve its human touch. “Net-net, we make this a place were people want to work,” Maiman says. “We employ proactive career management, and we can deliver on it…If you come to me and you’ve been working in the primary care market for two to three years, we can make your shift into biotech or oncology happen without you leaving the agency. There’s enough room for advancement.”
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