Having a leading mommy blog trash an effort as “a campaign from hell” might not sound like the proudest of moments. But when you’re Concentric Health Experience and the controversy is around an awareness push for postpartum depression, it’s proof you’re generating the right kind of attention.

The campaign, PPD Silence Sucks, featured posters depicting women sucking on pacifiers, with copy explaining how common — and crippling — the condition is.Did the ads infantilize women, as many complained? Did they put the burden of speaking up on mothers who are suffering, rather than on the providers who should be screening for it? Both questions are beside the point, says Concentric CEO and cofounder Ken Begasse.

“It may have been polarizing, but the conversations about the ads on social media were mostly positive,” he notes. “And it generated awareness among our target audiences.”

Besides the PPD work, done for Sage Pharmaceuticals, Begasse ranks the agency’s efforts on behalf of Sunovion as another recent highlight. The latter’s COPD franchise, recently acquired from Novartis, had to be launched in a tight 68-day window. Begasse felt the agency had to decline when Sunovion invited it to pitch for another assignment.

concentric health experience agency

“We knew the right thing to do was focus on the launch and not be greedy for more business. That resonated with the client,” he says.

The hard work paid off, Begasse reports. “We expected to grow in 2017, but the agency outperformed all expectations.” Revenue surged to $48 million, up 24.7% from $38.5 million in 2016. Begasse attributes the growth to the sentiment encapsulated by Concentric’s motto: “You make the medicine. We make it matter.”

New assignments included work from Alexion on a product that treats a rare blood disorder; Mist Pharmaceuticals’ erectile dysfunction drug Stendra; and Novo Nordisk’s Rethink Obesity effort. Losses included Novartis’ Rydapt and Pituitary Oncology.

Concentric has been in hiring mode to keep up with the growth and counted 248 employees at the end of 2017, up from 226. Begasse touts the addition of chief experience officer Colleen Carter. “Customer experience design helps our clients build a marketable advantage through a cohesive connection between the promise of medicine and its customers,” he explains.

Other key hires included executive creative director Sayan Ray and managing directors Tracey O’Brien and Diane Vinch. “We’re hiring people who are diverse in their experience, with a depth of insight about new and emerging platforms,” Begasse adds.