Maureen Regan, managing partner of McCann Regan Campbell Ward, is having a hard time swallowing her agency’s plain-vanilla performance last year. “We’re used to growing substantially every year, and that just wasn’t the case [in 2011],” she says.
The agency landed the global launch of Daiichi Sankyo’s Phase II liver cancer drug tivantinib, along with a corporate campaign for the firm’s oncology presence, and AMAG’s I.V. iron supplement Feraheme, including all the tactical work. “The best thing about small clients is you can work for them with fewer layers of approval,” says Brendan Ward, creative partner, referring to the AMAG business.
But the shop lost a flagship account, the global professional launch of Boehringer Ingelheim anticoagulant Pradaxa, in the second half. “It was a procurement call and was not a performance issue,” Regan qualifies, adding that her shop continues work on a major project for the brand in the US.
The Pradaxa global account went to an agency in the Saatchi health network. “The BI people decided to go with someone whom they’ve worked with before in the global arena,” says Rich Campbell, strategic partner. Novartis pulled an unnamed pre-marketing assignment in an agency consolidation.
Work continues on Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Ixempra breast cancer drug, Nulogix for preventing organ rejection in patients undergoing kidney transplant, as well as Novartis’s Sandostatin for acromegaly and Afinitor for certain cancer indications. Core accounts also include Millennium/Takeda, Sunstar and Alexion. One launch, Sigma-Tau for Cystaran eye drops, is on hold.
“We’d like to get back on a growth track,” says Regan. “Frankly, there are not a lot of new brands being launched right now.” The agency is looking toward specialty drugs and technology, as well as for more global opportunities—its self-described sweet spot. “Probably 70% of our business right now is global,” says Regan. “And that’s because of our association with the McCann global network.”
She hopes major branding moves provide the jumpstart. First, the agency added “McCann” to its title to more closely link it with Interpublic Group’s McCann Health. Second, RCW Group no longer exists as an outwardly-facing brand, but its companies McCann Regan Campbell Ward, McCann RCW Healthcare, and the digital and strategic consulting units MedRageous and Thinking Cap still report through the same management team. (Note: Branding changes took effect this month across five of the six US agencies in the McCann Health network and are more fully described in the profile for McCann Torre Lazur, p. 131.)
To up its digital offering, which now accounts for 20-25% of business, the agency integrated people from MedRageous into the individual brand groups, making digital account supervisors and digital account project managers a fixture on large accounts along with the traditional art director and copywriter.
The agency is also recognizing exemplary individuals with its On It Awards. “It’s part of our culture that we want and need to recognize our employees,” says Matthew West, VP/chief talent officer.
Regan says she works hard to maintain relations with the overseas affiliates. “We do crazy things like go to Japan for 32 hours or Germany for 48 hours. I think it’s important to not only know the people that work in the offices, but to have relationships with the individual offices. We’re not just selling a network; we’re selling a known entity and track record.”