The Top 75: ICC Lowe
All told, nine different agencies now have ICC Lowe in their title, including the flagship agency in Parsippany, NJ, supported by full-service offices in New York, London and one just opened in Zurich, plus two US-based conflict shops and three specialty offerings. The changes represent much more than a facelift, says Steve Viviano, who in January became president of the network and its advertising and marketing units. It's also a restructuring aimed at improving client service.
“We designed this new structure to give clients access to a much wider grouping of services,” Viviano explains. “At its core, the model allows any of our agencies to offer all the services through that portal, so if a client knows the NY office, they will get all the things about the NY office they loved, plus easier access to everything else we do.” The move capitalizes on a business turnaround at Lowe's 25-year-old health empire: 16 organic and 15 new business wins in the 12 months to June 2011, plus formation of a dedicated digital shop, more than 40 new hires, a second European office and revenue growth across all full-service agencies. Income is up 30% from the previous 12-month period. The sole loss for the agency came when Novartis moved the Tekturna account to another agency in 2010.
Viviano hopes the revised structure also facilitates growth from existing and new clients. Among the four global offices, the main office in Parsippany became ICC Lowe, while Interlink Healthcare Communications, which relocated from Princeton, NJ, at the end of January, became ICC Lowe NY; a Zurich office was launched, ICC Lowe Zurich; and London-based Brand(x) Healthcare Communications became ICC Lowe London. The US-based conflict shops are now ICC Lowe Trio and ICC Lowe Pace, and specialty offerings are branded as ICC Lowe Thermal (digital), ICC Lowe Redshift (devices and technology) and ICC Lowe SRG (meetings).
The healthcare network is also uniting under a set of core values, the first of which is treating clients properly by staying true to its core capabilities—using medical insight to drive strategy and creativity for the professional promotion of Rx and OTC products. “What we won't do,” says Viviano,” is tell clients ‘yes' and then run back and try to figure it out.”
The CEO says he has hand-picked the 15 or so people in senior support roles across the network, ensuring they all take the same approach to business. “I want clients to know that we have places to go for conflicts but also want them to know that they can expect the same types of values and approaches and quality of work from any of our shops.”
ICC Lowe's flagship office landed new assignments ranging from mass-market allergy drug Omnaris from Sunovion, to specialty brand Zenpep from Aptalis and OTC Abreva from GlaxoSmithKline.
Among seven launches for the agency, one of its biggest was Pradaxa, the anticoagulant from Boehringer Ingelheim. The agency took Pradaxa through pre-launch and launch, executing a professional educational initiative that included a non-branded disease awareness campaign, as well as satellite broadcasts, television and radio programming, congress activities, speaker training, publications, digital and print media, and advisory boards with key stakeholders. Peer-to-peer communication targeted HCPs and thought leaders, as well as payors and long-term care providers. Creative director Frank Cotugno also came on board last year.
For ICC Lowe's NY office, the year has been anything but status quo. The crew moved across the river to Manhattan in an effort to attract talent, before shedding nine-year-old name Interlink Communications in the rebranding. Leadership has also been refreshed—Katie Brunner, director of client services, took over the office from Dave Renner and Susan Flynn, who is no longer with the organization. The office also notched new business from Shionogi for men's health and Agennix for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer.
ICC Lowe Trio picked up four new brands en route to a 50% revenue spike: US and global promotion of Johnson & Johnson's Listerine, Reach toothbrushes and floss for J&J Oral Care, as well as Monistat and Neosporin Eczema Essentials. At the helm is general manager Renee Wills, who joined from CDM Group.
ICC Lowe Pace,tacked on Vertex VX-770, the first CFTR modulator for cystic fibrosis, as well as the BD Ultra-Fine Nano business from Becton Dickinson. Under the direction of GM Christian Hoyvald, brought on in January 2011, the shop also launched a new professional campaign for GSK fish-oil pill Lovaza and a new birth control campaign for Teva's ParaGard.
Among the specialty shops, digital agency ICC Lowe Thermal brought in four new professional relationship marketing engagements: J&J's Listerine, Vertex's VX-770, Janssen's Intelence (HIV) and Ortho McNeil Pharmaceuticals' Nucynta (pain). The shop, under the direction of chief digital officer Eugene Lee, created a detailing program for Janssen on the new Motorola Xoom platform. Recent key hires include David Weatherbee and Matthew Selvaggio, both in the role of VP, digital strategist.
ICC Redshift, which focuses on medical devices, diagnostics and emerging healthcare technologies, saw wins from companies such as TyRx, Gore Medical, MModal and Paramed.
ICC Lowe made a strong showing abroad, as well. The UK operation took on several new assignments from the likes of Amgen, Baxter, Tillotts and Heel. Launches included Nycomed COPD drug Daxas, Archimedes' PecFent for breakthrough cancer pain and new formulations for GSK's Sensodyne toothpaste.
With the new organization barely a month old, Viviano says his biggest challenge moving forward is building on the momentum globally. The expansion in Zurich brings the number of ICC Lowe's European offices to two, and build-outs of existing overseas affiliates could growth the offering further.
Lowe & Partners has healthcare business in Russia, China, Japan, Thailand, India and Brazil. Viviano is recruiting a head of global expansion to help set up and organize ICC Lowe offices in these markets. The emergence of ICC Lowe abroad could give Interpublic Group a second recognized global network alongside McCann Healthcare Worldwide.
“We have ambitious plans for our healthcare business under Steve's leadership in terms of building on the capabilities and services we can offer our clients and the geographies that our healthcare business operates in,” says Michael Wall, CEO of Lowe & Partners, in a statement related to the rebranding.
Viviano says execs from offices in Milan and Paris have already expressed interest in collaborating with his network. What he won't do is woo any agency that doesn't agree to the way he wants to work. “I've got to be able to look clients in the eye and say: ‘You get ICC everywhere.'”