In 2017, global president Robin Shapiro reported the unification of Corbett and LLNS under the TBWAWorldHealth banner was successful. With most of the messy details in the rearview mirror, the firm was finally able to focus exclusively on the work at hand, she says.

That meant a slew of new AOR assignments, including 10 awarded without a pitch; an 80% pitch-win rate; and the lowest employee turnover rate within Omnicom Health Group, Shapiro reports.

The key to the agency’s recent successes was “our staff helped create the type of firm they wanted to work for and delivered on it,” Shapiro says. “We take a lot of pride in that.”

The agency continued to lean into its expertise in the realms of vaccines and women’s health.

Business expanded on Gilead’s HCV franchise to include a new treatment for non-alcohol fatty liver disease. Work with existing client Shire similarly expanded to include the majority of brands in its hemophilia franchise.

tbwa world health agency

Meanwhile, in the wake of Shire’s move from Chicago to Boston, TBWA plans to open a Boston office before the year is out. “That we could offer team continuity and expansion in Boston helped seal the deal,” Shapiro says. She adds the agency views client relocation as an ongoing trend and that fostering a “geographically neutral talent-based strategy” positions the company well to meet related challenges.

Other new business included consumer and professional work on new client Teva’s migraine product Fremanezumab, as well as assignments from Abbott Vascular, Xeris, Braeburn, GE Health, Intra-Cellular Therapies, Obalon, Santen, Seqirus, and Smith & Nephew. Losses include an Alzheimer’s compound that didn’t make it through the pipeline and a mental-health product that stalled. Shapiro counts the Alzheimer’s loss as 2017’s biggest disappointment, though she expects it to move forward at some point.Overall, MM&M estimates the firm held steady at $80 million in 2017. Staff size was also flat at 325.

While the agency’s goal is to retain 100% of its clients, it won’t hesitate to terminate troubled relationships. In what Shapiro calls “a bold move,” TBWA resigned work on an account because the client’s values weren’t aligned with the agency’s own.

“We are purposeful in the clients we pursue, in terms of how disruptive they are as an organization and how disruptive their products are,” Shapiro says. “We look for clients who share our values.”