to address the messaging needs of multiple
segments; developed an app in support of a
technology-enabled sales force designed to
help sales representatives uncover and deliver
the messages a healthcare professional needs
to move to the next stage of brand adoption;
and created responsive-design Websites and
eLearning programs, which increased engagement with healthcare professionals by delivering content to their preferred devices.
According to its leadership, closerlook is
skilled in working with marketing technology platforms that cover database and user
management, insight generation, campaign
and content management. Current tools include Appature Nexus, StrongView, Veeva,
and Kentico. Clients’ user data is managed by
Backstage CRM, while healthcare professional
portals are built on Backstage Web.
For three closerlook-managed brand
Websites, tra;c from mobile devices increased
an average of 750 percent in 2013 versus 2012,
At GSW, the agency’s innovation discipline
is delivering digital, marketing, consumer, and
healthcare trend reports through its proprietary web portal Health Experience Project
(HxP), which has drawn more than 7,000 visitors (and contributed to GSW’s top 1 percent
rank of content consumed on SlideShare).
iQ, GSW’s experimentation lab, continues
to commercialize products that are deployed
to more than 50 brands in 20 countries across
25 companies, including Lilly, Merck, Amgen,
Takeda, Shire, Johnson & Johnson, and
Gilead. Products are focused around four key
areas: Tradeshow (Rival, 3D booth), Rep Tools
(;leShare, Mercury, Align), Analytics (Scout),
and Patient Education (Fluent). Two of the
most signi;cant launches from 2013 include
iQ.3D Booth, an immersive application that
leverages a trade show booth into a vivid vir-
tual on line experience; and Mercury 3, a plat-
form that allows reps to deliver face-to-face, e-
detail, remote, and group presentations across
multiple communication channels, all from
their iPad or Windows 8 compatible tablet.
For AbelsonTaylor, every year less of the
agency’s work involves the printed word, executives say (see pro;le on page 26). AbelsonTaylor completed 742 digital projects last year,
and now 85 percent of the agency’s brands use
it for their digital programs.
“In fact, digital, social and broadcast make
up most of what we do for clients,” execu-
tives comment. “But the point is not digital,
broadcast, social or print. What makes us suc-
cessful is not the media we use to communi-
cate, but the content we communicate: thor-
oughly researched messages, in-depth medical
understanding, thoughtful insight discovery,
carefully crafted positioning, memorable, im-
pactful creative concepts delivered to patients
and doctors in the way they want to access in-
formation – integrated through all media and
perfectly compliant with all the rules that gov-
ern our industry.”
Additionally, AbelsonTaylor management
says many clients are discovering that multiple
agencies and digital vendors struggling to keep
content aligned and compliant while also try-
ing to poach each other’s work is a recipe for
As the roles of pharma companies, market-
ing and agencies evolve dramatically, executives
believe that Intouch Solutions (see pro;le on
page 43) is poised to continue to be the agency
of the future. “;e idea of AOR is archaic,”
says Wendy Blackburn, executive VP. “Roles
and responsibilities have shifted. We were born
digital, but our role has expanded dramatically
into strategy, research, analytics, media, cre-
ative, content, engagement, and other leader-
ship roles. We’re essentially reinventing what it
means to be an agency.”
In September, the agency launched Intouch
Science, a group that melds medical commu-
nications with technology to create programs
geared toward healthcare professionals.
Executives at Giant (see pro;le on page 72)
say the agency has established itself as a fully
integrated partner delivering high-end strategy as well as on-the-ground execution cross
channel, cross platform, and cross audience.
;e agency is now recognized as an industry
leader in Veeva CLM content creation, including custom solutions that maximize the iRep
platform in the ;eld and in the home o;ce.
Giant is partnering with many of its clients, including Astellas, Neutrogena, Shire, Actelion,
AstraZeneca, Seattle Genetics, and Depomed
on Veeva-based programs, and has developed a
number of ;rst in class, custom software products using existing, and soon-to-be-released
As Intouch and Giant have done, Klick
Health (see pro;le on page 46) has evolved
from a mostly digital shop into a full-service
“If it’s digital, we do it, and if it’s not digital,
we do it, too,” says CEO Leerom Segal.
Among its innovative o;erings introduced
in 2013, Klick launched its Katalyst Digital Strategy, Digital Clinical Trial Recruiting,
and Managed Markets Access. ;e Katalyst
campaign showcases how Klick helps clients
develop a robust digital strategy to drive their
business with a captivating, 193-page hardcover book, complete with a state-of-the-art
Welcome Video in the inside front cover.
“Far from your average communication
tool, Katalyst received far from average results,”
executives say. According to agency leaders, of
the 2,357 copies Klick published and distributed, it generated hundreds of calls, dozens of
meetings, and several million dollars in new
business. Likewise, Klick’s work in Digital
Clinical Trial Recruiting campaigns have experienced great initial success with clinical trials experiencing more than 130 percent lift in
In support of continued expansion into
digital channels, Juice Pharma Worldwide
(see pro;le on page 78) has invested in
Studio Juice, an in-house video, commercial, and
photography production studio that is creating core content to be leveraged over multiple
channels including web, mobile apps, broadcast, interactive video, tablet, and print.
According to Forrest King, managing partner, chief innovation o;cer, “Studio Juice
helps us deliver the highest-quality content
produced in the most e;cient way possible.
We start by thinking through core content and
all of its potential applications, then identifying the most dynamic platform-correct vehicle
to disseminate that content across channels. It’s
all about starting at the source.”
For Category II Agency of the Year McCann
Torre Lazur (see pro;le on page 84), digital
revenue more than doubled in 2013 – another
;rst – with nearly half of the agency’s creative
awards coming from interactive engagements.
Notable wins included a series of unbranded
“edu-tainment” games supporting the launch
of laquinimod, a novel oral MS therapy: “;e
Neurodegeneration Gap” allowed convention
attendees to virtually descend into a neuron-shaped chasm representing the MS knowledge
gap and “Beat the Atrophon” pitted neurolo-
HEALTHCARE COMMUNICATIONS AGENCIES
Just a few weeks from now, I’ll be standing on a stage on Pier Sixty in New York with Joshua Slatko, Andrew Humphreys,
and Daniel Becker for the 25th Annual Manny
Awards. The night will be the culmination of
months of work.
And most importantly, it’s a new beginning.
When the staff of Med Ad News was given
the news that the division was being shut down,
we were, in short, stunned and in mourning.
For more than 30 years, Med Ad News
was a voice for the pharmaceutical industry.
From R&D to marketing to advertising, the
magazine’s editors (including yours truly) had
taken seriously the directive to find the stories of
interest in the industry, and tried to expand the
viewpoint beyond the industry bubble.
And then there was the question of the
Manny Awards themselves. What would
happen to them? The answer, at the end of
December last year, was that they would
ignominiously die away. No 25th anniversary,
and nothing to replace them.
But Dan Becker did not want to accept that.
Within a few short weeks, he started a new
company, Outcomes LLC, and contacted Josh,
Andrew, and me to see if we would help revive
the magazine. We even got our former art
director, John Savia, back on board.
So now we’re back. And we’ll have new
memories to add to the old.
One of my significant Manny memories
comes from about 10 years ago. Joe Torre,
co-founder of Torre Lazur McCann (now
McCann Torre Lazur), was being honored as
industry person of the year. His special guest
was J.P. Garnier, the then chief executive of
That year for the dinner, I had decided to
wear a stunning brocade corset. As I was
standing there at the cocktail hour, I was being
eyed curiously by an elegant woman in a
silvery gray cocktail suit.
As I smiled at her, she hurried over to me,
exclaiming in a charming French accent, “Oh,
I love your corset!” She introduced herself as
Danielle, and we talked about shopping in
“I love Philadelphia, but J.P., he does not
want to live there!” Danielle exclaimed.
“Oh, J.P. Garnier is your husband?” I asked.
“Yes, would you like to meet him?” she said,
and towed me over.
Seeing someone I had only known from
the photo and letter to shareholders in the
company’s annual report left me tongue tied
for a few minutes, but Dr. Garnier was highly
complimentary about Med Ad News.
“I’m amazed by how much information you
get into the magazine each month,” he said.
Knowing that executives like Dr. Garnier
were reading what I wrote provided a boost
that has lasted for years. And I never would
have met him if it wasn’t for the Manny Awards.
Last year, Torre was at the dinner again, as a
guest of Steven Michaelson and Judy Capano
of Calcium. At one point during the cocktail
hour, I was able to stand there with him and
Ed Wise of CDM, as they talked about how
pharmaceutical advertising has changed, and
how they believed it would change even further.
And there certainly have been a lot of
changes. When I started with Med Ad News in
1999, it was still the golden age of sales forces,
with reps carrying pens, brochures, sales aids,
and branded tchotchkes into the doctor’s office.
Then came PhRMA’s self-regulation, and
as sales forces were cut, the tchochkes
disappeared from reps’ bags and went onto
eBay. Print advertising also started to fade
away, and the agencies who had concentrated
on journal ads were looking around and trying
to figure out what they should be doing next.
Now sales forces are starting to rebuild, but
instead of branded baubles, reps are carrying
iPads with elaborate interactive visual aids
and educational programs, with games and
more serious video lecture content, aimed at
physicians and other healthcare professionals
– designed in many cases by the pharma
company’s agency partners.
Pharma companies and their agency partners
are also exploring the mostly untapped world of
social media, finding ways to reach physicians
and patients despite FDA’s continued silence on
social media rules.
Campaigns have become multichannel, and
the successful agencies profiled in this issue
have realized this. Not only do most agencies
have their own digital capabilities, they are
also reaching into the consumer agencies’ bag
of tricks with relationship marketing and data
mining. And with the increased importance of
managed care under the Affordable Care Act,
some agencies are focused on this as well.
We here at Med Ad News plan to track
the changes that will happen in 2014 in the
pharma industry. And we plan to see you
here in New York in 2015 for the 26th annual
Celebrating a return