Area 23

With another year of double-digit growth, Area 23 kept the hits coming in 2021, powered by its “What if?” mantra and commitment to a unique company culture.

New business wins included Biogen MS, Lilly Alzheimer’s, Sanofi vaccines and Sanofi Diabetes, Apellis’ Dry AMD and Biogen’s SMA products. And it powered seven pharma launches, including AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 treatment and prevention portfolio; ViiV’s first and only once-monthly, injectable, complete-treatment regimen for HIV-1;  Bayer’s once-daily pill for CKD; and Lilly’s product for early breast cancer.

The agency added new practices, including experience design, led by Franklin Williams, EVP. It also added omnichannel strategy, better connecting the dots of data, technology and creativity. Alec Pollak, group director of omnichannel strategy, leads that group.

Internally, it continues to look for new ways to expand diversity and strengthen its culture. As such, it created the Unarmed Truth site, an internal platform that allows colleagues to call out barriers in the workplace that prevent the authentic expression of who they are. And it’s spotlighting underrepresented groups.

The agency also continues to navigate its geographically expanding troops, allowing each employee to determine their best combination of remote, in-office and hybrid work. Pre-pandemic, more than 95% of the staff lived within commuting distance to the office. That’s fallen to 82%, with 200 employees migrating to 30 states, some as far as Hawaii. 

Notable cause efforts include Inevitable News, a partnership with Columbia Journalism Review to illustrate how numb the world has become to gun violence.



Evoke caught our judges’ eyes for its significant growth, with 38 new assignments helping it reach $188 million in revenue. And it also got plenty of attention with such launches as the Everybody Strip for Breathe Right, Fertility Out Loud, an unbranded effort, and Abecma, the first CAR T-cell therapy for multiple myeloma. And it introduced a formalized Multicultural Marketing Center of Excellence, an internal talent hub to connect with multicultural audiences.