2009 MAHF Inductees
MM&M, February 2009[Download PDF]
By Tanya Lewis
The Medical Advertising Hall of Fame will induct Ron Pantello, Harry Sweeney and David Wood at a special celebration dinner. The MAHF will also honor Raymond Gosselin with a lifetime achievement award.
RAYMOND GOSSELIN Raymond Gosselin was a pioneer who forever changed the landscape of marketing research in the pharmaceutical industry when he established the National Prescription Audit (NPA) in the 1950s.
As the first measure of prescription activity based on a sample of retail pharmacies across the country, the NPA proved invaluable for pharma companies, advertising agencies, and investment firms. Gosselin sold the NPA to IMS Health, and, indeed, the NPA opened the door for all succeeding audits, which today represent a multimillion dollar industry.
“Ray’s efforts were key to the industry’s growth by helping agencies and companies alike fine tune strategies and tactics,”
says retired pharma marketing executive Bob Doyle, whose father created the precursor to NPA, which Gosselin then developed. “His work was also critical to R&D targeting, as well as mergers and acquisitions. Before [the] Rx Audit market plans relied on subjective measures plus internal sales. NPA brought new and invaluable information to the process of marketing and sales. All brand plans had to incorporate it.”
In the 1970s, Gosselin’s firm R.A. Gosselin and Company launched the Audatrex audit, another invaluable researchtool in the study of drug penetration, physician prescribing persistence, and market share development.
After graduating from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy (MCP) in 1943, Gosselin joined the Navy and served as gunnery officer and commander of amphibious assault ships and was awarded the Purple Heart and Silver Star.
Gosselin later taught at MCP for many years, and served as president of MCP from 1972 to 1987 (the longest tenure in the college’s history). As president of MCP, he led the expansion of the institution’s charter by the state legislature and transformed it into the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences. After leaving MCP, Gosselin became editor and publisher of Pharmacy Times, a position he held until 1993.
Dick Mannis was a student of Gosselin’s at MCP, and the two developed a friendship over the years as Gosselin made the rounds with the NPA and Mannis held a variety leadership positions in marketing research and product management at companies such as Eli Lilly and Ciba.
“He was a very good teacher,” Mannis recalls. “He made otherwise dry courses lively… and seem important. He was an excellent public speaker, and he enjoyed it. He was a bright, intelligent man with a lot of energy. He always had a good presence, and I think that accounted for quite a bit of his success. He made an enormous number of friends in the industry and in academia. He was his own brand name.”
Another marketing research executive, Larry Belford, says Gosselin was highly regarded throughout the industry.
He adds that Gosselin was keenly interested in enhancing the industry and in watching it grow, noting that Gosselin’s audit efforts created a huge number of new jobs for people. Belford remembers Gosselin as a “fascinating man” with incredible charisma. “If you walked into a room with 100 people, everyone noticed Ray.”
Mannis adds that Gosselin was “always positive” and that he brought “a lot of credibility to everything he did.” Mannis also praises Gosselin’s creativity in building the audits that became so useful to the industry.
Gosselin passed away on November 8, 1999.
RON PANTELLOA luminary of healthcare advertising, Ron Pantello has been instrumental in shaping and supporting not only client brands but also the agency landscape. He began his career in the mid-1960s in sales at USV Pharmaceuticals and went on to become a product manager at USV before joining Sudler & Hennessey in the 1970s. In 1980, he and two S&H colleagues founded Lally, McFarland & Pantello (LM&P) and built into one of the premier agencies that served clients such as Procter & Gamble and Wyeth.
Havas acquired LM&P in 1989, and the agency became part of the Euro RSCG network. Pantello served Euro RSCG in several roles, including chairman of Euro RSCG Healthview, CEO of Euro RSCG Life, and chairman of Euro RSCG Life before he retired in 2007. During his tenure, he led the formation of the global Euro RSCG Life network of agencies.
“Ron’s integrity and leadership fostered a culture and structure that for the first time in the industry offered clients a medianeutral, single P&L, free of any internal bias or influence,” notes AxisRx president/CEO Michael Norton, who was a colleague at Euro RSCG Life.
“Ron’s personal philosophy provided the best advice for… anyone in a service role: ‘You should be the best part of your client’s day,’” Norton adds. “It was that philosophy that served him so well and won the respect of every client with whom he worked over the 40-plus years of his career.”
Cynthia Armstrong, SVP, associate creative director at Euro RSCG Life LM&P, notes that Pantello always considered employees the most valuable assets of his agency. He fostered an extremely supportive corporate culture, and Armstrong notes many employees called him “Coach.”
Giving back is always a priority for Pantello, who established early in his career a practice of making a charitable donation for each new account win. Armstrong says he also approved loans that helped many LM&P employees buy their first home, and he and his partners sometimes withheld their bonuses so employees could have more.
Pantello has also given a tremendous amount in service to and leadership of industry trade associations, including the Coalition for Healthcare Communication and the Pharmaceutical Advertising Council (later the Healthcare Marketing Communications Council, then the Healthcare Communication & Marketing Association). He served as a PhRMA board member and was instrumental in forming its self-regulation codes.
In 1996, Pantello co-founded the MAHF. He was the organization’s first chairman, a role he held until 2005. Norton notes that Pantello’s work with the MAHF sends an important contribution to both the industry and to society.
“Ron is an icon of integrity who deserves to shine as a beacon for those who will follow in his footsteps,” says Armstrong. “It would be difficult to find someone more deserving of an honored place among the industry leaders represented in the MAHF.”
HARRY SWEENEYHarry Sweeney is unquestionably one of the industry’s brightest stars. For nearly 50 years, he has made significant contributions to the business of healthcare advertising, including creating iconic campaigns, building and leading Dorland Global Healthcare, mentoring talent and advocating for the industry.
Sweeney began his career in the late 1950s as a copywriter at Lederle Laboratories after serving two years at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. He also trained in field sales at Lederle before holding various creative positions and leadership roles at companies such as Squibb, Sudler & Hennessey, L.W. Frohlich, the Paul Klemtner agency, and Shaller Rubin.
David Gideon, executive director of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame (MAHF), who is also Sweeney’s friend and colleague, notes that Sweeney’s creative accomplishments are numerous. He describes Sweeney’s work for Ayerst’s Premarin while at the Paul Klemtner agency as “exceptional,” noting that his campaign “ran for an unheard of three years with no copy changes.”
In addition to establishing himself as a major creative talent, early in his career Sweeney earned a doctorate from New York University School of Law in 1966.
In 1971, Sweeney and his wife Rita acquired the Dorland Agency (subsequently, Dorland Global Corp.) and built it into a highly regarded and successful shop that they ran together for 37 years. The agency drove significant business for clients such as Merck, Lederle, Roche Diagnostics, Chiron, and Syntex Labs. Its roster included international accounts and service organizations, such as the AMA and IMS. Gideon notes that Dorland handled a number of impressive “firsts,” including “memorable campaigns” for Wyeth’s Premarin and SKF’s Tagament (firsts in their field), the first cholesterol drug and the first sequential oral contraceptive.
The Sweeneys sold Dorland Global to UK powerhouse Huntsworth Health in 2007, and stepped down in January 2008.
Gideon calls Sweeney “a born organizer and forceful leader,” noting that his understanding of “the need to nurture the common interests” of agencies led him to support the founding of the Medical Advertising Agency Association (later the Four As). Sweeney also helped found the Coalition for Healthcare Communication and MAHF, and he served on the boards of the American Medical Writers Association, the Art Institute of Philadelphia and the HMCC.
“If Harry Sweeney’s career were to be measured only as a writer, he is one of the industry’s elite,” Gideon says. “His accomplishments in managing and building a successful business in an environment of corporate behemoths mark him as an outstanding leader. His contributions to the industry are too numerous to list. When all are taken together, he stands out as one of the industry’s most notable performers, a genuinely rare individual who deserves to take his place as a member of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame.”
DAVID WOODDavid Wood was an extraordinary man, who colleagues and friends have described as “innovator,” “pioneer,” “archetypal Renaissance Man” and “renowned developer in the business of branding.” In 1979, he established Interbrand North America, the first healthcare- specific branding consultancy. In the course of his career, Wood would help define 40 of the 100 top-selling Rx brands, including Zocor, Prozac, Viagra, Pegasys, Plavix, Advair, Enbrel, Nexium, Diovan, Singular, Herception and Celebrex.
In a tribute to Wood, who passed away in November 2007, Michael Birkin, vice chairman of Omnicom Group wrote: “He was the visionary behind a company dedicated to increasing the role of branding in one of the most highly regulated global industries. David, as much as anyone, educated the pharmaceutical industry as to the need to capture, through the development of a strong brand, long term sustainable value from the increasing amounts being spent to promote new drugs. In an industry which had traditionally seen patents as the only form of intellectual property worth having, this was revolutionary.”
An Englishman, Wood began his career in the hotel and hospitality business and came to New York City in the late 1960s. DAS Healthcare president Rob Dhoble notes that Wood’s atypical background helped him provide transformative solutions for the healthcare industry.
“By the very nature of who he was, David was disruptive,” Dhoble says. “He was a guy who was probably the least qualified on the face of things in the beginning to be a pharma expert. Yet, he brought personal experience and understanding of people into a new business called branding. In a matter of a few short years, he became an accomplished expert in naming and branding pharma drugs. He provided an unconventional, sometimes contrarian, approach to the common expectation of clients. So many things led to David being the right guy for an industry that needed a fresh breath of fresh air.”
In 1986, Wood left Interbrand to found David R. Wood Associates, which was acquired by Omnicom Group and merged with Interbrand to become Interbrand Wood Healthcare in 2001. He established Interbrand Wood offices in Chicago, San Francisco, London, Geneva and Tokyo. Birkin has noted that David Wood & Associates was so successful that Omnicom “had to buy him back,” a first for the company.
Within Omnicom, Wood was recognized as a dynamic business leader who fostered relationships with network leaders to create lasting and innovative partnerships in client service. Outside work, he contributed to and served a variety of charitable causes, including the New York Foundling Hospital, CARE and the 9/11 volunteer efforts.
Both Birkin and Dhoble remember Wood as a keen observer interested in genuinely understanding and appreciating people. Dhoble says that Wood always sought to help clients understand audiences—doctors, patients, pharmacists, families— in order to most effectively communicate the attributes and benefits of their products.
Wood was certainly a titan in healthcare branding, and while his death was a great loss to the industry and to his friends and colleagues, his legacy remains.
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