The Top 60: Euro RSCG Life Chelsea

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Euro RSCG Life Chelsea got new leadership this year. President Bernie Coccia joined the company in April from AgencyRx, where he had been managing partner, director of client services, while CEO and managing partner Ed Stapor took on new network-level roles—including expanding Euro RSCG Life's West Coast and Asia-Pacific footprint. 

In addition, longtime Euro RSCG Lifer Dan Marsalle was named chief of operations at Chelsea. Marsalle previously built the network's production company, Euro RSCG Life BlueStar. 

Coccia said the firm has “persevered” over a tough 12 months, with business up slightly despite the loss of several longstanding accounts and others going off-patent. Chelsea notched up eight wins, most recently global professional and consumer on Wyeth's pediatric vaccine Prevnar and US/global professional for EMD Serono's pediatric growth hormone Saizen—the latter of which was awarded without a pitch, following on the win of EMD Serono's adult growth hormone Serostim. The firm also picked up the global professional business on Wyeth and Amgen's Enbrel, as well as Savient's Puricase for gout, Eisai's neuroscience franchise and premarket work on two Phase II oncology products from GlaxoSmithKline—pazopanib and casopitant. 

On the downside, two big accounts—Wyeth's Protonix and Effexor XR—wound down as the drugs went off-patent, though Chelsea's launch of Effexor XR follow-on Pristiq was some consolation. Losses included Celgene's Thalidomid and Revlimid, which Chelsea handled for five years, and Boehringer Ingelheim's Micardis, which the agency had handled for seven years. 

In addition to Pristiq, Chelsea recently launched Eisai's neuroscience franchise and worked on Shire's Lialda, for which the agency handles professional and DTC. For Savient's Puricase, Chelsea collaborated with sibling Euro RSCG Life PR on a Gout Awareness Day campaign that included Savient execs ringing the opening bell at NASDAQ. 

Situated in a renovated brick warehouse in Manhattan's gallery-happy Chelsea neighborhood, the agency bills itself as a shop with an eclectic downtown vibe. “We like to think of ourselves as having intellectual energy,” says Coccia. “We employ poets and musicians and novelists and physicists and MDs and PhDs and entrepreneurs. We all work here and together we inspire each other to do exceptional work for our clients.”

Euro RSCG Life's single profit and loss structure allows the agency to live up to its slogan, “Authentic integration,” says Coccia. 

Coccia sees opportunity for Chelsea in companies seeking to grow past partnerships with larger firms and strike out on their own. 

“There's a trend toward these smaller pharma and biotech companies wanting to go it alone rather than seeking marketing partners,” says Coccia. “We end up being a perfectly suited partner for these companies looking to put their prized compounds into the hands of an ad agency because of our knowledge and experience launching blockbuster brands for pharma.” 

Internal development and promotion are top of mind for Coccia, who envisions a “Chelsea U” where employees can learn skills across departmental lines. “There's a direct correlation between happy employees and happy clients,” says Coccia. “If we can create an environment where people love to come in and work and don't mind putting in the inevitable long hours, that translates into clients that are happy and that breeds more business opportunities. Happy employees equals happy clients equals a happy bottom line.”

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