The following 40 people are innovators, creative geniuses, entrepreneurs, leaders, thinkers, doers…legends. They represent the history and spirit of medical marketing. They have all made a difference. They are MM&M‘s Most Valuable Players. To come up with this list, we did a lot
of research and talked to a lot of industry people. At least 50 other names came very close


Lally started as a copywriter at William Douglas McAdams and Robert A. Becker before arriving at Sudler & Hennessey in the late 1960s. Matt Hennessey described him as a genius, whose natural ability made him the best creative director S&H ever had. Lally excelled in product positioning, helping such products as Premarin and Inderal achieve record sales. In 1980, he and two S&H colleagues set up Lally McFarland & Pantello.  Lally retired in 1993 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999. He passed away in January 2005.

While Lubalin passed away 25 years ago, the creative punch from his 20 or so years at S&H shook future generations of medical advertisers. He entered the industry in its golden age, when companies began to devote more resources to marketing. A student of typography, Lubalin championed the poster style of ads—clear headlines attached to a graphic—a format now associated with medical advertising.

Gideon is credited with introducing computer systems to pharma media analysis. He was the driving force behind the creation of the journal ad metrics juggernaut PERQ, the growth of MM&M and the inception of the Hall of Fame. After learning computer skills in the Navy, Gideon was hired by Armour and tasked with analyzing and optimizing its journal spending, which became the impetus for him to create PERQ. In 1981, he bought MM&M and, after selling PERQ to VNU in 1984, he relocated the title to Florida.

Although he would come to make his name in Chicago, Corbett got his start in New York. After a brief stint as a pharmacist, he joined Upjohn as a sales rep. Several pharma roles later, Corbett landed a job with medical advertising firm Jordan, Sieber in Chicago. In 1956, he became an equal partner but left five years later to form his own agency, Frank J. Corbett Inc. Business poured in from such clients as Baxter, Lakeside, Upjohn, Westwood, Lilly, Bristol-Myers and Winthrop. In 1972, BBDO acquired the agency. Corbett retired in 1997.

Rosenthal and his family came to the US from Germany when he was eight. Although he broke into copywriting with a small consumer agency, his medical advertising career launched at William Douglas McAdams, where he spent 13 years. In 1970 he left to start his own agency, Rolf Werner Rosenthal Advertising, producing memorable ads for Burroughs Wellcome’s Empirin, which also became part of RWR’s own promotional campaign. Rosenthal incorporated unique democratic principles into his managerial bible, helping RWR become one of the top agencies before it was sold to Ogilvy in 1984.

Steel was director of advertising for McNeil Laboratories from the 1960s, and into the 1980s. He became one of the foremost authorities on pharma marketing, known for his cost-effective and responsible approach. He helped make McNeil one of the industry’s largest advertisers, due to the success of several products, including Tylenol. Under Steel’s watch as McNeil ad director, the decision was made that Tylenol would compete with Bayer Aspirin on an OTC basis, while continuing to advertise to professionals.

Fink took journal ad research to the next level. Having obtained his PhD in psychology at Columbia University, he was hired by Klemtner in a readership research role. His work raised eyebrows at Medical Economics, where he became research director. Fink applied his techniques to medical journal readership. His advocacy of hard ad-exposure data was considered revolutionary. In 1966, Fink and colleague Lew Miller launched the first “mini-mass” publication, Patient Care, designed to help general practitioners with everyday problems.

Swift was the architect of Omnicom’s medical communications holding company strategy. Throughout the 1960s, he worked for medical agencies before taking a two-year stint with Chesebrough Ponds, where he learned consumer marketing on OTC brands, as well as how advertising marries with direct mail, PR and telemarketing in the consumer realm. In 1966 he joined L.W. Frohlich as VP, but when Bill Frohlich passed away in 1972, Swift left to form Lavey/Wolff/Swift with Ken Lavey and Bruce Wolff. L/W/S was acquired by BBDO in 1977, and Swift became president of BBDO/Health and Medical Communications. In 1994 L/W/S merged with Dorritie Lyons & Nickel to form LLNS. Swift also donated his time to trade groups, including the PAC.

DeRouin made his mark by taking risks and pushing boundaries. After an initial stint at CIBA, he started his own design firm in 1958, Design Associates, which enjoyed a successful six-year run. A few other roles followed, before deRouin became art director at William Douglas McAdams in 1967. Two years later, deRouin took a job at Klemtner, but soon after become a partner at Rolf Rosenthal’s newly formed agency, where he produced memorable work. He retired in 1990.

Kallir earned his medical advertising stripes as a copywriter and left an indelible mark. After gaining degrees in chemistry and modern history, and a taking a part-time role at Squibb, he landed a job with Klemtner as a copywriter, before moving to William Douglas McAdams in 1951. There, Kallir’s tagline, “the successor to the tranquilizers,” helped Roche’s Librium become one of the first $100 million US sellers. In 1962, he formed KPR along with designer Jerry Phillips and writer/account executive Warren Ross. Kallir retired in 1993.

Ferguson was the founding father of the multi-tiered, multi-unit advertising force known as CommonHealth. He began his career in the 1960s at device maker Becton-Dickson, before entering into advertising at the Frohlich agency and later S&H. In 1974, at age 33, he decided to go solo and set up Thomas Ferguson Associates in New Jersey. After some tough early years, the hard work began to pay off. As business began to grow, Ferguson set his sights on recruiting the talent that shared his work ethics.

Fisher is credited with growing Corbett into a medical advertising force. He got his start as a Pfizer rep near his home in Memphis and rose to be a product manager at its New York HQ. He switched gears to the agency side as an account executive, handling Squibb for Frohlich. When Frohlich closed in 1972, he joined the close-knit group that founded Lavey/Wolff/ Swift. He was on his way to a long-term position when he was chosen to succeed the retiring Frank J. Corbett. Fisher spent 19 years heading up Corbett, where billings grew dramatically from $18 million in 1977 to $65 million in 1987. He retired in 1999.

Chapman, a medical publishing trailblazer, began as an ad salesman for the magazine Iron Age, before becoming ad manager at medical device maker Becton Dickinson.
Noting physicians’ rising incomes following World War I, he had an idea for a publication to help them deal with their newfound wealth. With the help of Dr. H. Sheridan Baketel, Chapman created Medical Economics. The first issue, featuring 17 advertisers, was sent to doctors free of charge in October 1923. Today ME reaches 170,000-plus primary care physicians.

Gerson was set to follow his father into a pharmacy career before an encounter with a sales rep put him on the path to marketing. After a stint detailing for Wyeth, Gerson joined the agency William Douglas McAdams, where he spent 40 years helping to launch dozens of successful brands, including Valium, the first $100 million Rx brand. In 1987, he took over as chairman, following the death of principal Arthur Sackler. Gerson continued to grow the agency, until it was picked up by the Lowe Group in 1996.

Frohlich came to the US from Germany in 1931 with a specialty in type design. In 1939, he opened an art studio that, following World War II, grew substantially. Frohlich opened branches in London, Paris, Milan, Frankfurt and Tokyo. In 1954, he founded Intercontinental Marketing Services—the precursor to IMS Health—which researched, compiled and released studies on pharma sales in markets outside the US. In 1969, IMS cracked the North American market, also. Frohlich’s firm was disbanded in 1972, following his death.

Cline, co-founder of the powerhouse agency Cline Davis & Mann (CDM), started out as a drug store pharmacist during the late 1960s, before landing an account position at Robert Becker’s agency.  He was then hired by Klemtner to work on a Pfizer account, where he met art director Clyde Davis and copywriter Fred Mann.  Cline eventually rose to president, before the three tight-knit execs left in 1984 to form CDM.

Becker graduated from New York University in 1941 with a marketing degree. Soon after he was working for Plough in Memphis as a junior copywriter. He then moved to the Breese agency in New York, where he enrolled in pharmacy school evening courses, becoming one of the first in pharma advertising to also hold a pharmacy degree. After a stint at Squibb as an ad manager, Becker was ready to lead an agency of his own. In 1957, Burdick, Becker and Fitzsimmons was born. The agency experienced major growth. During the 1960s and 70s the firm’s client roster read like a who’s who of the pharma industry—including Ayerst, Sandoz, Bristol, Roerig and Upjohn. In 1987, Becker’s agency was acquired by Euro RSCG. Becker retired in 1995.

Ginn was advertising manager at Eli Lilly& Co.  and is considered to be arguably one of the last great ad managers in the pharmaceutical industry. Soon after his death in the 1990s, the marketing structure at many companies changed, and the ad manager position was replaced by the product manager and product management team system industrywide.

Parish earned the distinction of being the first pharma executive to be voted into the Hall of Fame (in 2005). Upon graduating from pharmacy school in 1948, he joined the sales force at Burroughs Wellcome (BW), and eight years later moved to the corporate HQ in New York, where he began writing advertising literature. He joined the ad department and in 1960 BW promoted him to ad manager, a position predating the product manager. Parish supervised other areas, too, like PR, medical education, patient literature and convention programs. He later credited his pharmacy education with giving him a deep understanding of the various disciplines. Parish retired in 1987 after 39 years with BW.

Sackler, a psychiatrist, joined the William Douglas McAdams agency in 1942 and later took the reins. He oversaw Pfizer’s seminal campaign for Terramycin in 1952, incorporating pioneering techniques like field-force materials and a multi-page journal inserts. He also piloted radio and TV in the 1960s. Sackler sagely positioned indications for Roche’s Librium and Valium, he developed Scope, a newspaper house organ for Upjohn, and began publishing Medical Tribune for physicians. Many medical institutions and museums bear Sackler’s name.

Carrafiello started out carrying the bag for Pfizer as a sales rep. He made the switch to the agency side, joining the consumer shop Erwin Wasey. There he put his Rx drug marketing experience to work on the Lederle account and forged a relationship that would benefit him in the future. When Wasey was folded into the Interpublic (McCann) network in 1971, Carrafiello  founded Carrafiello, Diehl & Associates. Once CDA was up and running, he pitched his old client Lederle, earning accounts for Stresstabs, Centrum and Caltrate. Carrafiello devised the tagline: “From A to Zinc,” for the Centrum brand.

Ross not only co-founded a successful agency, Kallir Phillips Ross, but also conceived and wrote the copy for one of the most successful campaigns in history—McNeil’s Tylenol journal and direct-mail effort, starting 1965. Using professional promotion, the OTC brand eventually surpassed pain products whose manufacturers heavily advertised to consumers. Ross, a contributing editor to MM&M since 1990, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.

Hennessey was a pioneering and innovative creative force. In 1934 he joined the art department at Squibb, where he met Arthur Sudler. Two years later, Sudler left to pursue his own business and Hennessey followed. Squibb was their account. By 1942, Hennessey had become a full partner and S&H was born. After Sudler’s death in 1968, Hennessey took the reins. For more than 20 years, S&H was the largest healthcare firm in the US. Hennessey retired in 1984.

Gosselin was a marketing research pioneer for the pharmaceutical industry. In the 1950s, having started his own firm, R A Gosselin & Co., he established the National Prescription Audit—the first systematic review of prescription drug use. Today it is owned by IMS Health. Gosselin was also publisher and editor of Pharmacy Times between 1987 and 1993.

Kelly began his career over 25 years ago at Pfizer, rising from market research clerk to president, US pharmaceuticals unit. Widely respected for his marketing savvy, he oversaw every new Pfizer brand since 1984, playing active roles in the launches of Lipitor, Viagra and Celebrex. He also became a leading industry voice, speaking out on crucial issues such as the US healthcare system and DTC.  After Jeffrey Kindler became chief executive this year, Kelly was reassigned from the US pharma division.

Taylor, president and chief executive of the Chicago-based AbelsonTaylor, runs the largest independent medical advertising agency. After gaining bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern University, he started his career in advertising for DuPont and G.D. Searle before moving to the agency side, where he worked for two medical agencies. He co-founded AbelsonTaylor in 1981. Under his direction, the agency has garnered a reputation for exceptional creativity, growing to around 40 brands and 300 employees. In his 25 years with the Midwestern shop, Taylor has “helped change the way doctors look at promotion,” says partner Jay Carter. Taylor conducts seminars for professional organizations and is a frequent contributor to professional and trade journals, including MM&M.

Co-founder of the legendary Sudler & Hennessey agency in 1941, Sudler greatly influenced the style of Rx advertising. After bringing Herb Lubalin on board, business took off from consumer mags, record companies and TV networks—NBC’s peacock logo resulted from one such commission. Pharma clients included Lederle, Ciba and Merrell, and the agency became an incubator for many young designers. Sudler retired in 1966 amid failing health and died in 1968.

Considered by some as the “godfather” of branding, Barnett is remembered as an art director who would not accept mediocrity. After graduating from Cooper Union in New York, he worked at a design studio helping to create packaging for IBM and Mattel—before he linked up with S&H, Klemtner, and became executive art director at BBDO while still in his 20s. He later teamed up with Bob Buechert, Reginald Bowes and Tom Spooner to form the legendary Vicom agency. In 1984, Vicom was bought by Foote, Cone & Belding, and in 1996 Barnett retired.

Bowes revolutionized healthcare communications by introducing behavioral science. He started as a sales rep for Ayerst, later joining behavioral science think tank Sharon Corporation, where he began to theorize how behavioral sciences could be applied to pharma. In 1976, he co-founded Vicom where he pushed for targeting “early adopter” physicians in launches. Applied to Syntex’s Naprosyn, it yielded positive results. Bowes retired in 1990.

During his career, Liebman gave it his all, and it showed. He wrote for several titles, most recently MM&M. He started out with the Medical & Pharmaceutical Information Bureau in 1953, after which came stints with William Douglas McAdams and S&H, where he was staff writer for the Medical News physician newsletter. He then joined Medical World News and later Hospital Practice, logging 30 years with the title, during which he rose from associate publisher to president, HP Publishing. He also served numerous trade associations and was a founding member of AMP. Liebman passed away in 2003, at the age of 75.

Eckman is remembered as the “dean” of the US pharma CEOs during the mid-1980s. Distinctively, he was president of the Pharmaceutical Advertising Club in the early 1960s and later chairman of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association. After serving as a submarine officer in World War II, Eckman joined SmithKline & French. In 1952 he became VP of Thomas Leeming & Co., later known as Pfizer. He became president of the Rorer Group in 1970 and its chairman and CEO in 1976. Eckman died of cancer in 1993.

Hoffman, one of healthcare’s first female creative directors, transitioned into the industry from women’s fashion, joining Lavey/Wolff/Swift in the early 1980s as a copywriter. When Alan Gross and David Frank left L/W/S to form Gross Townsend Frank, Hoffman followed and her name was added. She was a creative force behind Merck campaigns for Tonocard (devising the tagline, “Like Lidocaine. But it’s oral.”) and for Mevacor. In 1991, she was stricken by a cerebral aneurysm, which eventually claimed her life.

Girard blazed a trail for all women in healthcare promotion. She came to the US after World War II, the British war bride of an American colonel. Her father was a printer and her knowledge of the craft helped her land a job in the production department of J.B. Roerig and Co., which was acquired by Pfizer in 1951. Impressed with her work, Pfizer chose to keep Girard on board. She eventually became one of the first women to be named advertising director at the Pfizer unit. She was also the first woman president of the PAC. Her life was cut tragically short by cancer.

Torre began his healthcare career as a registered pharmacist working in a retail setting. Hoffmann-La Roche recruited him, and he served the company in various sales, marketing and market research positions. After leaving Roche Laboratories, Torre became an account supervisor at Healthmark Communications in New York. With industry and client experience under his belt, Torre started his own agency in 1979, which evolved into Torre Lazur. The agency was bought by McCann in 1996. “[Joe] taught us that client relations are not enough; you have to have a high-quality agency,” says Larry Iaquinto, president, Interlink Healthcare Communications. Torre was appointed head of McCann Healthcare WorldWide before moving over to managing director, healthcare, for McCann parent The Interpublic Group.

The name Harold O’Neill is synonymous with direct mail innovation. As a kid growing up in New York City, O’Neill’s family couldn’t afford to send him to college. At high school he held down a part-time job running an addressograph machine for direct-mail firm Fisher-Stevens. After graduating, he expanded his hours and got into sales. Direct mail had become an essential part of the mix for product launches, and in 1952, O’Neill and his brother-in-law formed their own company to service pharma. O’Neill-Clark became a leading firm.

Pantello began his career with USV Pharmaceuticals, a division of Revlon, in the mid-1960s, but not in marketing. Like many in pharma, he “carried the bag” in sales. In 1971, he jumped inside to become a product manager for USV. Pantello’s permanent home turned out to be on the agency side. He joined Sudler & Hennessey in the 1970s, then in 1980, he and two S&H colleagues founded Lally, McFarland & Pantello. LM&P became a force and merged with Paris-based consumer agency RSCG in 1989. After 30 years in healthcare, Pantello became CEO of Euro RSCG Life following a number of years as chairman, Euro RSCG Healthview. A board member for PhRMA, Pantello also co-founded the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame, which he chaired until 2005.

After earning a pharmacy degree from the University of Nebraska in 1950, Williams joined Parke-Davis as a sales rep and by 1968 became director, US marketing. Following the merger with Warner-Lambert in 1970, he held several key roles before being elected president and COO in 1980, and chairman and CEO in 1984. His commitment to investing in research helped Warner-Lambert generate more than $4 billion in revenues by 1990. Williams is recognized for his support of the pharmacy profession.

Lerner started out in 1953 as assistant to the assistant advertising manager at Organon. After a short stay at Geigy, he was recruited to Hoffmann-La Roche in 1962 as product ad manager, with 30 brands, including Librium. He later became director of advertising, launching Valium among other drugs. “Roche invested only 20% of promotional dollars on the sales force, so the advertising challenge was enormous and very exciting,” Lerner says. In 1980 he was named president, CEO and chairman. He is credited with the idea for the first-ever co-promote—a major deal with Glaxo on Zantac.

In 1948, Ruvane  started in the purchasing department at Hoffmann- La Roche. Two years later he was named assistant to the president of Roche’s joint venture with Organon. For 20 years, he oversaw sales and marketing, finance, product development and manufacturing divisions, and was named president in 1970. In 1981 he took over Glaxo’s US subsidiary, Glaxo Inc. He helped manage the first co-promote deal with Hoffmann-La Roche for Zantac, following Irv Lerner’s idea.

Celebrated as one of medical advertising’s founding fathers, Klemtner actually trained as an accountant. His first brush with pharma came in a part-time role with G.D. Searle while at business school in Chicago. In the early 1940s, Klemtner advised pharma companies to redirect sales forces to call on MDs who prescribed branded drugs rather than on dispensing physicians. He expanded his consulting to advertising and promotion, and began accepting clients in 1942. Klemtner Advertising was incorporated two years later.