Excitant Healthcare Advertising president Mark Perlotto has been based for the last three years in the bucolic Atlanta suburb of Woodstock, GA, hometown of Dean Rusk. There, the former managing director of Adair Greene McCann has been quietly building an independent agency that is just beginning to make a name for itself in the pharma and healthcare marketplace. How are things going in Woodstock? Pretty well.
“We’ve been working with McKesson’s Paragon Enterprise Information System Division since we launched in 2011,” Perlotto says. “In 2013 we were selected as a creative vendor for much wider access within McKesson, which will open up other opportunities for us within all the divisions of the company. We also won launch responsibilities for a product called Synera from Galen US.”
Excitant’s work on Synera, an anesthetic patch with a warming pod approved for superficial venous access, displays the scope of the agency’s capabilities. According to Perlotto the account started with strategic consulting work, which led into launch planning, positioning message development, campaign development, and deployment of the campaign across media—including direct mail, conventional advertising, and a website launch.
Excitant’s strategic thinkers came up with an important insight to help differentiate Synera in the crowded world of anesthetic patches and creams. “We started out positioning (Synera) into the pediatric hematology-oncology marketplace because those kids—a typical diagnosis of leukemia for a child means that probably in the next year they’re going to have somewhere in the order of 100 needlesticks,” Perlotto says.
Zoetis, Pfizer’s recently spun-off animal health division, has been another success story for Excitant. The agency started working with Zoetis’s diagnostic group in 2011 and has been winning awards for its work ever since, most recently an Rx Club Award of Excellence in 2013 and 1st Place in the Direct Mail category in the DxMA Creative Communication Awards in April 2014. In 2013 Excitant launched new websites for Zoetis’s Canine Reproductive Health and Equine Reproductive Health divisions; according to Perlotto, the agency’s Zoetis business grew by 65% for the year.
Even with all this early success, though, Perlotto is careful to focus his agency on the fundamentals of marketing; being another “digital to the core” agency is not his cup of tea. “At one point in time, two or three years ago, [we heard that] the paperless office is going to go away, sales collateral is going to go away, direct mail’s going to go away, everything’s going to be online,” he says. “That certainly has not happened. I think there’s a re-appreciation on a client’s side that, [while] there are places where digital work is appropriate and beneficial, there’s a real wakening or recognition [of] the value of going back to some of the core block-and-tackle basics as well making sure you have a complete marketing mix.”
Up next for Excitant? Bigger, broader—and more visible. “We want to continue to grow our AOR assignment as well as our project work,” Perlotto says. “I expect both of those channels of business for us to grow. One thing we need to work on is more exposure. When companies are considering agencies, I want Excitant to come up in that conversation.”