Top 100 Agencies 2015: McCann Regan Campbell Ward

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"Today Is a Gift" for Boehringer Ingelheim's Pradaxa
"Today Is a Gift" for Boehringer Ingelheim's Pradaxa

Susan Duffy, now president of McCann Regan Campbell Ward (MRCW) for a full year, describes the agency's 2014 as a time of “change, stabilization and transformation.”

It was a transformation that was as much physical as it was cultural, it turns out. The agency joined the larger McCann network of offices on Third ­Avenue in New York City. And while some agencies may be quick to bemoan a loss of freedom—however slight—Duffy says the agency is benefiting greatly from its proximity to the wider network and agencies therein.

“We're positioned for growth right now,” she explains. “We've integrated more within our own network, including more cross-sharing of consumer, DTC and payer business. That's been a big focus of the McCann World Group.” Duffy noted MRCW collaborated with McCann agencies Momentum Worldwide and MRM during the past year.

So far the move has appeared to pay off, with the agency winning 11 new assignments in 2014, including new business from pharma heavyweight AstraZeneca. 

“Adding AstraZeneca—and working in diabetes and immuno-oncology—was a great achievement. It was in part because [we have] a better understanding of what larger McCann has to offer and how we can work closer with them in ways that still involve health and wellness,” Duffy says. “A lot of opportunities came within the network. It really helped to be a strong agency within the group.”

The move inside McCann headquarters wasn't the only tangible change for the agency. It also shuttered its San Diego office at the end of 2014, a move that coincided with the end of its Amgen business. 

“Our business was shrinking on the West Coast and it made sense to dissolve our presence there,” Duffy explains. 

The agency's renewed focus back east, along with those 11 new assignments, has led Duffy to issue a forecast of 10% to 15% growth in 2015. Despite the end of its West Coast counterpart, Duffy says the agency's head count has stayed the same. After a slight dip in 2014, the agency bounced back to 115 employees as of June. 

“We made a lot of new hires in the past year,” Duffy says, noting that the agency still has “a lot of open positions.”

That rising demand for new talent spurred the agency to hire an in-house recruiter. “It's distracting for hiring managers to not only hunt for the right applicants but also arrange all the logistics of them coming in. That's made a huge difference,” Duffy says.

Another difference for MRCW this year is the amount of digital work it's doing. Additionally, the firm is laying the groundwork for a number of brands that plan to launch over the next year. 

“We're doing more digital,” Duffy affirms, estimating that it comprises close to half the work MCRW does now. “We have a number of brands that are in prelaunch phase, so a lot of our focus is on making those launches successful and to continue to go deeper with some of our clients for organic growth,” Duffy says.

She hopes some of that prelaunch and launch work will also propel the company into awards consideration. “We definitely want to enter some award shows. We have some great work that's launching this year for 2016.”

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