The Medical Advertising Hall of Fame has unveiled its 2020 honorees.
Tom Harrison, best known for cofounding Harrison and Star, and Larry Lesser, cofounder of ApotheCom Associates and Medicus Communications, were selected for induction. John Kamp, who cofounded the Coalition for Healthcare Communication, was named the recipient of the Service to Industry Award.
Harrison’s career began with sales representative and marketing roles at Pfizer, then he transitioned to the agency world at Rolf Werner Rosenthal. When RWR was acquired by Ogilvy, Harrison teamed with Larry Star to form Harrison and Star in 1987. After helping build the agency into a high-science powerhouse, Harrison held top roles at Omnicom Group’s Diversified Agency Services division, serving first as president and then as chairman and CEO.
Lesser was an agency man from the outset of his professional life. Starting as an assistant account executive at Friend Reiss Advertising, he moved to the LW Frohlich Intercon Agency and eventually became a member of its executive committee. After Frohlich broke up, Lesser partnered with two peers to launch Medicus Communications in 1972. He retired from Medicus in 1997 and, in 1999, cofounded ApotheCom Associates with Neil Matheson.
Kamp spent the first nine years of his career at the Federal Communications Commission as director of congressional and public affairs. In 1990, he left for the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ DC office, where he spent a decade as SVP. During that time, Kamp banded with a handful of industry leaders to found the Coalition for Healthcare Communication. While consulting at Washington-based law firm Wiley Rein, Kamp served as the coalition’s executive director from 2002 to 2018.
Reached on Monday, two of the honorees said they were humbled by the MAHF recognition. “It’s gratifying to know the kind of company you’ve been placed in,” Harrison said. “Everyone who has been recognized with this award in the past has done phenomenal work to grow the industry in an innovative and thoughtful way.”
Kamp largely echoed those sentiments. “It’s very nice to be recognized like this,” he said. “We had a great run in Washington. It feels real good to be recognized among some of the most eminent people in the industry.”
As for Lesser, who died in 2017, ApotheCom cofounder Matheson said that he would have been “quietly thrilled” about the MAHF recognition. “Larry didn’t usually get involved in the usual industry activities – the dinner circuit, the awards type stuff. But deep down, he would’ve been incredibly, incredibly proud to be in the hall of fame.” Matheson added that Lesser’s wife, daughters and grandchildren are planning to attend the ceremony.
The MAHF will celebrate the honorees at its annual black-tie induction dinner on February 6, 2020, at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. Tickets can be purchased at the MAHF website. For information about advertising and sponsorship opportunities, contact MAHF executive director Anne Gideon.