24 • MED AD NEWS APRIL 2016
categoryone – agencies with income of more than $50 million
added to the agency’s current portfolio of
CF brands as was a game-changing yet-to-be-launched antiviral for hepatitis.
Late in the year, a current client assigned
(without a pitch) DTC responsibilities for
a dermatology brand that will launch in
2017, executives say.
And according to AbelsonTaylor
leaders, in addition to new brands, the
agency was successful in winning incremental business on existing brands.
DTC responsibilities were shifted to
AbelsonTaylor for an important neurology brand, and digital responsibilities were moved to the agency for a billion-dollar GI brand.
During the year, Abelson Taylor helped
clients launch four new brands and three
new indications for existing brands.
Launches are the most exciting part of
the agency/client relationship, according to Abelson Taylor leaders. “They are
where all the strategy, planning, message
development, regulatory approvals, media planning and creative development
come together to bring important new
products that improve peoples’ lives onto
the market,” executives say.
Creative awards (and executives say
they do matter) continued to roll in. The
agency won 19 creative awards in 2015
including Best Patient App, Best Branded Website, Best Digital Campaign, Best
Consumer Print Ad, Best DTC TV Spot
and Best Integrated Campaign.
The account service side of the business
took on a new look early in 2015 as the
agency implemented a project management structure in parallel with strategy
and client engagement group. The dual
goals of increased efficiency and speed
of job completion are already being
achieved. Throughput time has been reduced and write-offs are down.
2016 will see the launch of Nutrient, a
new concept of “adsultancy” focused on
non-pharma wellness brands. Staffed
by planners, senior creative, and experienced healthcare brand strategists,
Nutrient’s goal is to mine brand insights
using a proprietary methodology and deliver creative concepts and a brand strategy for a fixed fee.
The agency’s stand-alone visualization
subsidiary, Dose, also had an amazing
year, with solid double-digit revenue
growth for agency clients and companies
outside the AbelsonTaylor’s roster. Incremental revenue to the agency and significant cost savings resulting from less
use of outside suppliers were seen.
The agency created a separate Experience Design group this year, consolidating UXD specialists into a central group
to use their talents more efficiently.
While senior management has remained essentially unchanged for
years, four new vice presidents, two on
the creative side and two on the account
side, were appointed during the year.
Overall, 47 staffers were promoted
during the year.
The expansion of business in 2015 seems
sure to continue in 2016. The agency is
already planning work on 15 new cam-
paigns, 15 new digital programs, and six
new brand launches. And pitch requests
keep coming in, executives say. As in
the past few years, the agency is turning
down more pitches than it accepts.
According to its leaders, AbelsonTay-
lor, while growing dramatically, has
stayed true to its roots. “One of the only
agencies that never felt a need to rebrand
itself (although it did remove the hyphen
between the founders’ names about a
decade ago), its goals, mission and struc-
ture are largely unchanged,” execs say.
Eleven years ago, CEO Taylor began
the process of selling stock to key em-
ployees. A substantial portion of the
agency is now owned by 14 employees
whose tenure ranges from 10 to 30 years.
Some started their careers with the
agency while others were brought into
ownership after only a few years there.
“Ownership aligns everyone’s goals with
what is best for the agency, its clients and
employees in the long term,” Taylor says.
AbelsonTaylor’s dedication to independence remains firm. The employ-ee-owned agency has for 35 years charted its own course and focused on what
is best for its clients, its brands, and its
staff. “So far, it seems to be working pretty well,” executives say.
Abelson Taylor takes social responsibility
very seriously, executives say. Its efforts
are driven by the HeartsATWork team.
In the past year this initiative partnered
with 14 nonprofit organizations to fulfill
the simple objective of providing Abel-
son Taylor employees with opportunities
to participate in a giving-back program,
thereby reminding them that what they
do makes a difference: to a child, patient,
family, or a neighborhood. The agency
was awarded a “Metal of Honor” award
by Ronald McDonald House of Charities
for executing an internal campaign that
motivated its employees to collect nearly
52,000 pop tabs in about three months,
which were recycled to raise funds to
provide lodging and comfort for fami-
lies so they can be near their hospitalized
children. And 30 years of “Free Lunch
Fridays” has resulted in the contribution
of hundreds of thousands of dollars to
the Chicago Food Depository. HeartsAT-
Work partnered with Urban Initiatives
by sending more than 30 employees to
a local Chicago school and sponsoring
a series of half-day sports and nutrition
camps. Volunteers served meals to the
homeless through its partnership with
Chicago Help Initiative. The agency has
an ongoing partnership with La Rabida
Children’s Hospital and has provided pro
bono branding and website development
for this center dedicated to the treatment
of chronic illness, developmental disabil-
ity, trauma and abuse in children.
Through its longtime partner Heifer International, the agency is a major
funder of a program that benefits families in Tanzania through the East African
Dairy Development Program. medadnews
Structure and services o;ered