These individuals have helped shape the industry through their creative and innovative accomplishments in every aspect of advertising. Their contributions have enhanced the character of the advertising industry and thereby made our own work so much more rewarding and successful. We are honored and proud to call them colleagues.
Builder of an advertising powerhouse
For decades, the healthcare industry has been concentrated in the northeast. That makes Ryan Abbate’s accomplishments even more remarkable in that he was able to found and build a major advertising agency on the west coast, growing Pacific Communications from a handful of people to a 250-person organization with an impressive client list.
West Coast born and bred, Ryan graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) with a degree in business. Ryan has always been very clear: healthcare marketing and communications was his chosen path. Immediately upon graduation from USC in 1984, he joined Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, where he carried a bag in both Arizona and Southern California. He excelled in sales and was quickly promoted to Advertising Manager at Merrell Dow’s corporate headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. Over the years, Ryan’s role expanded, and he was ultimately promoted to Director of Advertising for Merrell Dow’s Lakeside Consumer Products division. This made Ryan, at age 29, the youngest department head in the Dow Chemical organization.
In 1990, Ryan returned to his home state of California, joining Allergan Pharmaceuticals as Vice President, Global Communications, where one of his responsibilities was managing a small in-house services group. When Allergan decided to divest this capability in 1993, Ryan approached them with a different proposal: spinning off this group into a separate company. With 18 people and no agency-of-record assignments, Pacific Communications was born.
The early days were difficult, however, with Ryan’s leadership and a complete overhaul of the agency’s structure and staff, Pacific made a strong comeback by the end of decade, and in 1999 won the coveted “Agency on the Rise” Manny Award from Med Ad News. The next decade brought even more growth, as Pacific added several blue chip clients to its diverse roster, including Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Genentech, Amgen, Medtronic, and Bausch + Lomb. Ryan also focused on hiring some of the industry’s top talent from New York and Chicago, strengthening the agency even further. This impressive increase in both domestic and global clients continued through the next decade, making Pacific Communications one of the fastest growing and most successful agencies in the business, with billings and staff increases significantly higher than industry norms.
Ryan’s career has been punctuated by a series of groundbreaking achievements: the first branded DTC commercial ever broadcast for a prescription product, the first in-house agency to spin off into a successful full-service shop, and the creation of the largest healthcare agency on the West Coast.
In 1988, Ryan, in tandem with Greg Westerbeck, Director of Marketing at Merrell Dow, and agency Rubin, Reid, Noto and Ehrenthal, sat down with the FDA to jointly craft a commercial that would serve as the benchmark for all DTC pharmaceutical commercials to follow. The product was Nicorette®, then an Rx.
In addition, Ryan has been integral to the successful launch of many new products, including Botox®, one of the most recognized brands ever developed. Ryan developed the agency’s experience with Botox® Cosmetic into the leading medical aesthetics capability in the industry, as well as built a diverse client roster covering a range of therapeutic areas, including oncology, glaucoma, cardiology, and diabetes.
Ryan also was an early supporter of having all content, regardless of medium, created by a single agency. He knew that digital capabilities, along with print and video expertise, would be critical to the ongoing success of Pacific Communications. As a result, he championed full integration of digital into the agency’s offerings.
Ryan has also given back to the industry through participation in its organizations. A long-term member of the Coalition of Healthcare Communications – and the only West Coast representative on the Board of Directors – Ryan provided quiet advocacy for the healthcare communications industry in New York, Washington, D.C., and the West Coast for more than 15 years. He was also a long-term member of the Medical Marketing Association (MMA), the Medical Advertising Action Committee (MAAC), and the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame.
With a groundbreaking career punctuated by a string of successes, Ryan Abbate deserves his induction into the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame.
An unmatched record of service
In 2003 The Medical Advertising Hall of Fame instituted the Service to Industry Award to recognize individuals who had provided in the past, and continued to provide, exceptional support to and for the industry.
It is fitting that the first recipient of this award is Jack Angel, an individual whose unstinting efforts on behalf of the industry for many organizations, have benefitted it greatly. He was a founder and driving force for the Coalition for Healthcare Communication, an organization that champions the dissemination of truthful healthcare information, as provided for by the First Amendment.
Jack started his career as a marketing manager for Babcock and Wilcox in their Atomic Energy Division in 1960. In 1965 he moved closer to the world of healthcare with a stint at Avon Products as a staff manager. In 1970, he joined Medial Economics/International Thompson, where he remained until 1991 and established a reputation for accomplishment and dedication to providing the healthcare community with the best information possible to help them in their practice.
In 1991, Jack started his own company, Greenwich Communications, Ltd., producing publications such as Convention Insider and Nation’s Health, and providing consulting services to the industry.
In addition to his publishing career, Jack has been active in a variety of health-related professional and service organizations, including terms as president of the Pharmaceutical Ad Council and the Association of Medical Publications, respectively. He also has worked with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and served on the National Task Force on CME Provider/Industry Collaboration and the Communication of Ethical Guidelines for Gifts to Physicians from Industry committee, both examples of his focus on the establishment of policies allowing open and responsible communication between the industry and healthcare professionals.
At the time of his induction, Jack has served for 12 years as the executive director of the Coalition for Healthcare Communication, a group that has been an effective voice in Washington DC and in the media for the interests of healthcare communications organizations of all types. His unrelenting efforts have helped to insure that the rights of the industry to communicate with healthcare professionals and consumers are not unfairly restricted.
Jack Angel’s service to the industry is notable for both its scope and duration, and is the standard against which future nominees will be judged.
During a career that spanned more than five decades in the pharmaceutical industry, Bob Baldini has demonstrated a passion for the business and unwavering leadership. Whether running an ad agency, directing sales and marketing activities, or running a company, he has left an indelible mark and helped others to realize their full potential and succeed.
His time in our industry includes roles at both major and specialty companies, including Pfizer, Geigy, Ciba-Geigy, Key, Schering Plough, and Kos. He was personally involved in introducing more than 27 major pharmaceutical products into the marketplace as well as in the development, launch, and management of several innovative, best-selling drug delivery products such as Nitro-Dur, K-Dur, and Imdur.
For most of the 1970s and early 1980s, Bob led the in-house advertising agency at Ciba-Geigy, called C&G Advertising. Under his direction, C&G was staffed with a brilliant group of writers and art directors, making it one of the most creative agencies in our industry, a difficult task under normal circumstances but even more unusual for an in-house operation. In addition to directing highly successful advertising efforts for his company’s products, Bob found time to help with the career development of numerous others, both within and outside the C&G operation. Ogilvy Healthworld CEO Steven Girgenti, then new to the McAdams Agency which handled Ciba-Geigy accounts, recalls making a pact with Bob – an erstwhile competitor – for Bob to teach him everything he could about the operation of an ad agency. Without hesitation, Bob passed on his knowledge and experience, helping to pave the road to success.
In 1982, Bob made a major career move when he accepted a position with Key Pharmaceuticals in Florida, a radical switch from his role in running an in-house advertising agency. He quickly became involved in directing sales and marketing efforts, earning a reputation as a skillful manager who not only directed but motivated his sales force. From 1982 to 1986, Bob served as senior Vice President of sales and marketing at Key, directing successful efforts to establish Key Key as a significant presence in several major markets. Following its acquisition by Schering-Plough, he continued with the Key Pharmaceuticals Division of Schering-Plough until 1995, last serving as its president.
A significant factor in Key’s success was new drug delivery mechanisms. According to Norman Meier, who was with Bob at Key, Bob recognized the importance of this factor in competing with newer products and larger competitors, and made it a cornerstone of sales and marketing efforts.
During his time at Key, Bob helped guide and develop the careers of numerous individuals, teaching them about advertising, marketing, sales force management, and strategic planning. He also instilled a sense of the importance of character and integrity.
From 1998 through 2001, Bob was chief sales and marketing officer for Kos, a role that included overseeing all sales strategies, product positioning, and marketing budgets. He was also responsible for guiding the creation of the company’s sales and marketing departments and for the product launch of Niaspan. Once again, his marketing talent and leadership skills contributed heavily to the success of the company.
Bob has served as a director for Ascent Pediatrics, and today serves on the board of directors for Esprit Pharma. He consults with several companies, including Oikos Ventures and serves as director of Arisaph Pharmaceuticals and DermWorx. Outside of the industry, Bob is committed to giving back to institutions which have helped him. Most notably, he continues to support and assist the development of others by serving on the board of regents at Seton Hall University. Bob Baldini has left an indelible mark on our industry with his superb personality, hard-working and caring style, and concern with others. His efforts have contributed to the success of every venture he joined, and earned him the admiration and respect of those he was worked with.
Lester Barnett defies categorization within the domains of medical advertising—creative, account service, strategic/media planner, and entrepreneur. His career displayed capabilities in all these agency disciplines. In a word, Barnett’s creative talents, marketing instincts, cultural interests, and his incomparable personality made him one of a kind. His work represents the power of idea generation in our business.
He began in Rx advertising as an art director, having attending Cooper Union. He worked at Sudler & Hennessey on a range of pharmaceutical accounts under the legendary Herb Lubalin, Ernie Smith, and Jim McFarland, learning the expansive creative philosophy of that agency. He then moved to Klemtner, where he met and became friendly with Bob Buechert, who was to transfer to Klemtner’s San Francisco office, which later became Barnum Communications. Buechert asked Barnett to join this new agency as creative director and Barnett made a fateful decision to move his family and career to the West Coast. Barnett was on the scene when Buechert and key employees like Barnett and Reg Bowes bought the agency and founded Vicom (now FCB HealthCare)—the agency that established a culture of medical advertising in San Francisco.
Those who know him mention Barnett’s career, but tend to concentrate on his style as a creative director and strategic marketer. “His personality,” says, Tom Domanico, chairman of FCB HealthCare, “was full of fun and energy. It was from that perspective…when you are having a good time, the work is better.”
John Loden, a former CEO at FCB, agrees on the work environment Barnett created: “Part and parcel is having fun while doing it. Lester was a big believer in enjoying himself and enjoying what he did. Even though he drove some people to distraction at times, it was always a tremendous amount of fun to have him around and to work with him.”
Barnett was a stimulating but demanding leader. Like so many creative directors, he pushed his staff for improvement right up to the deadline. Steve Gold, now a principal at Giant Creative, tells how his colleagues chided Barnett on his last-minute second thoughts: “[When he retired] one of his gifts that everyone got together on was a watch. On the watch it was only eleven o’clock…to represent Lester always coming in at the eleventh hour…at the worst possible time and challenging the work.”
This insistence by Barnett on getting the best is described by Pete Segal, now chief creative officer at Torre Lazur: “People liked Lester stretching them like rubber bands and also didn’t like stretching them like rubber bands. Sometimes from that dichotomy, from the pull, came great stuff…[he] was bored with anything less than ‘spectacular.’ I think mediocrity is not known to him. Not because it’s insulting, but because it’s simply boring.”
This intolerance with mediocrity was seen in the campaigns he supervised. Says Loden, “Lester had a disdain for the expected. He always wanted something that was a little bit outrageous…[but] not for the sake of being outrageous. Outstanding creative is strategically relevant and executionally unexpected. Lester understood that second part very well.”
The pairing of Barnett with a strong-minded, marketing innovator like Reg Bowes at Vicom proved extremely productive. At first, the two were at odds because Barnett objected to Bowes’ involvement with the creative work.
“They banged heads,” says Domanico, “because Lester didn’t buy into it right away. But over time, he saw the value in what Reg was bringing to the party.”
Segal says, “Reg is an original. Lester is an original. Two originals together create heat and light. They thrived on each other’s light and brilliance. It was extraordinary!”
The marketing programs that Vicom created were eye-openers for the industry. The agency helped Syntex build Naprosyn into a $1 billion brand, and this attracted attention from Merck, who assigned Vicom the failing muscle relaxant Flexaril as a test. With Bowes’ marketing insights from behavioral science and Barnett’s intrusive creative work, the brand experienced remarkable growth. Merck followed with other assignments on major brands: Vasotec, Zocor, and Fosamax.
Barnett’s attitudes and methods left an impact on those he worked with, but his legacy is in his ability to infuse a product’s promotion with a strategic personality. He used his art and cultural background to express product positioning.
Domanico says this: “He made the art a marketing tool…style…image…tone. He brought it to life on the page, where it spoke for itself beyond what the words said. The art spoke…to the strategic need.”
“Vasotec had to look like a quality product,” Bowes adds. “It needed some kind of housekeeping seal of approval…to say this product is a winner in its class. [Lester designed the Vasotec medal] and he found this wonderful green…the ‘upcoming color for that year’ that became the Vasotec theme along with the medallion.”
Loden comments on Barnett being a strategic thinker: “He had the ability to express strategic ideas in non-traditional ways. Fifteen years ago, he was talking about the need to keep Naprosyn a perpetual teenager. Now, what he was referring to is lifecycle management. Constantly coming back with new advertising, new line extensions, new clinical findings…It was being different to make a point, maybe more profoundly than other people could do it.”
Lester retired in 1996. He always has been a world traveler and continues his global adventures. He consults for industry, probably keeping ahead of the field with his eleventh hour watch.
Dr. James Barnum, a collateral descendant of the showman P. T. Barnum, was born in Indianapolis and grew up in Lakeland, Fla. He was a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, commanded a task group in the Pacific in World War II and rose to the rank of Rear Admiral in the Naval Reserve.
Dr. Barnum was a marketing man turned physician, receiving a medical degree from Columbia University in 1964. After a successful 10-year career at J. Walter Thompson Company, where he rose to group executive vice president and president of J.W.T. Affiliated Companies, Dr. Barnum founded Barnum Communications in 1975. Under his guidance, the firm became a top 10 healthcare advertising agency.
Dr. Barnum was an innovator who recognized many trends and concepts ahead of others, and led the way on several fronts in medical advertising, including the use of public relations, direct-to-consumer communication of information, and opportunities for women at senior levels.
At the time, Barnum Communications was a bit unusual in the field since it also did consumer communications and advertising of consumer healthcare brands. Dr. Barnum, who remarked that ”healthcare is healthcare, no matter who the advertising is directed at,” was a pioneer in using television to promote healthcare, and was brave enough to bring conditions where people suffered in silence to the forefront, as demonstrated by the commercials he produced that promoted private mental hospitals in the Sun Belt.
Dr. Barnum was dedicated to total communications and was a visionary leader. Barnum Communications became the first healthcare agency to incorporate a public relations arm, a service that became the wave of the future in pharmaceutical marketing. He knew that public relations was just as important as the advertising of prescription drugs, because it was, at that time, the only way that a manufacturer could go directly to the consumer. He pioneered this area of healthcare communications because he realized that if a manufacturer had a promotable product, it might be able to get a news article or a feature spot on a broadcast talk show that could lead to a consumer asking the physician to prescribe that particular brand-name product.
While his accomplishments were many and varied, perhaps Dr. Barnum’s biggest impact on our industry was his decision was to hire the first woman to run a major agency. Dorothy Philips, another Medical Advertising Hall of Famer, gave Jim a pillow carrying the message ”The best man for the job often is a woman” just before he hired her. The pillow remained nestled in the corner of his office couch throughout his career and, judging from his decision to promote Philips to president and chief operating officer of Barnum Communications, he took the message to heart. Dorothy Phillips was the first woman to make it that far in a major agency in healthcare and paved the way for many more women to follow.
In addition to a successful career, Dr. Barnum’s other passion was his devoted wife, Barbara, two daughters, Elizabeth, and Shauna, a son, David, and four grandchildren. Tragically, he passed away much too soon from cancer, he was 68 years old and lived in Manhattan.
When Robert Becker obtained his BS degree in marketing from NYU in 1941, one of his professors recommended him for a job as a copywriter at Plough in Memphis. Taking the job with Plough set him on the path to a successful career in pharmaceutical advertising. On returning from the service after World War II, it was this apprenticeship with legendary Abe Plough’s company that helped him land a job with the Murray Breese advertising agency—the principal Rx agency in New York. While at Breese, Becker decided to concentrate on pharmaceuticals and enrolled in Rutgers School of Pharmacy’s evening courses. Eventually, working part-time on his degree, he gained his RPh from Long Island University. Others have since combined marketing and pharmacy postgraduate work, but Becker was likely the first to do so in pharmaceutical advertising.
He moved from Breese to Squibb as advertising manager and after a time overseeing promotional programs, decided to go out on his own in 1957. He joined with Dean Burdick, an executive at McAdams, and Don Fitzsimmons from the Chicago Rx scene, to form Burdick, Becker and Fitzsimmons. The three eventually went their separate ways, but the founding of this agency marked a significant step in medical advertising. It set an example for others working for the small number of existing agencies that there was room for more agencies in a market expanding rapidly with a steady flow of new brand name prescription drugs.
The Robert A. Becker agency was founded in 1961. It grew with the pharmaceutical industry in the 1960s, handling products for a number of leading manufacturers like Sandoz, Lederle, Roerig, Syntex, Mead Johnson, SKF, and Merck, its principal client for many years. Becker launched such breakthrough drugs as Diuril and Indocin for Merck.
The agency’s work for Smith Kline & French led Becker into publishing. When the house organ, Consultant, which the agency had created for SKF, became available, Becker bought it, ran it for a few years, and then sold it. This experience primed him for other publishing ventures and he developed and produced, separate from the agency, Hospital Medicine and Medical Aspects Human of Sexuality—successful journals for a number of years.
Becker’s avocational interests resulted in the founding of the Beethoven Society, which presented 110 concerts at Lincoln Center devoted to the more rarely performed works of the composer. He sponsored research on Beethoven’s life and works and has an extensive collection of Beethoven paintings, sculptures, and memorabilia. For these endeavors, he was decorated by the governments of Austria, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the city of Vienna.
Becker retired in 1995.
Winston Churchill said: “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” This quote reflects the way that Ken Begasse, Sr. lived his life. He was the type of person who gave generously of himself to help develop others. In addition to a long and successful career in medical advertising, he affected the lives of many individuals, helping them to grow and advance. His legacy will be of someone who devoted a good part of his career giving back to the industry and helping others with theirs.
Ken’s career in healthcare spanned 37 years before his untimely death in 2010 at age 60. He started his career in respiratory therapy when he established and led the Respiratory Therapy Department and Pulmonary Lab at Greenwich Hospital. In 1978, Ken transitioned from clinician to sales of hospital monitoring equipment. A chance encounter with a colleague introduced him to medical advertising and, once he joined the small agency Kimmich & Company in Norwalk, CT as an account executive, he never looked back. He knew that advertising was the path he wanted to pursue. After more than a decade at Kimmich, Ken joined Sudler & Hennessey and then went on to assume several other positions of increasing responsibility including: Director of Client Services, Lowe McAdams; COO of Nelson Communications; CMO of CommonHealth; President of MBS/VOX; and CEO of Concentric Pharma Advertising, an agency co-founded by his son.
Ken’s professional accomplishments are significant, but perhaps his greatest legacy and contribution to our industry was the many people whose potential he helped to develop. Regardless of whether an individual’s career interest was in account work, creative efforts, or even association management, Ken always pitched in with assistance and advice for how to grow and move ahead. Many of those that he touched are industry leaders today, and he would be quick to agree that the people he mentored were his proudest accomplishment.
Ken conducted himself, personally and professionally, by example and the following principles defined him:
Engage. Ken believed that without engagement, you cannot lead effectively. According to those that worked with him over the years, his door was always open. He practiced “management by walking around.” He could sense when someone was having difficulties, and always made the effort to see if he could help.
Educate. Ken knew that education is an essential building block in helping others become the best they can be, and that it is built on a foundation of helping, guiding and teaching.
Encourage. Ken created an environment in which others could be productive and excel. Ken Jr. says: “He helped us all to ‘dream’ in our strategy, to push the boundaries of what could be done, not to settle on the obvious or the easy to sell strategy. He’d rather lose a pitch with the right strategy than win a pitch with a strategy that couldn’t work.”
Energize. Ken energized any group that he was a part of, including the HMC, an organization which he was devoted to. He gave unstintingly of his time to make the association a source for supporting the industry and providing a resource for members for education and development.
Elevate. Raising up other people was a selfless goal that Ken saw as a necessity for every effective mentor. For him, it was not about getting the credit, it was about helping the organization and every person in it be the best they can be.
Ken did great work for clients at all of the agencies where he worked, and set Concentric up to become a leading agency in the industry. His contributions to the success of the businesses hw worked with were substantial, from daily operations to ideas for markeing and communications programs. But, most importantly, his lasting impact and greatest gifts, are the many leaders in today’s industry who he mentored. He is remembered by them for his support and assistance with their careers and lives.
Usually, a single innovative contribution to marketing science is enough to establish a reputation. Reginald (“Reg”) Bowes created strikingly original ideas that greatly benefited the products on which they were first tried—proving their validity. These concepts were picked up by the Rx industry and became accepted as standard marketing tactics. Add to these accomplishments a persona flavored with the 1960s’ spirit of rebellion, a passion for intellectual pursuits of all kinds, unconventional dress, and an often undiplomatic style with clients and colleagues, and you have the classic iconoclast—brilliant, eccentric, unpredictable.
Bowes was one of the founders of the San Francisco agency Vicom. It was there that he advanced the idea which is at the top of his list of accomplishments: applied adopted sequencing. Bowes had immersed himself in behavioral science and applied what he had learned to the influence pyramid among physicians. He advocated targeting “early adopters” in the first stage of a pharmaceutical’s introduction, recognizing that as “thought leaders,” their use of a new product would be noted by other MDs who would follow their example. The idea was first applied to the introduction of Naprosyn for Syntex with remarkable results.
Paul Freiman, former chairman of Syntex, recalls, “I was the head of marketing and I had forecasted boldly…a $12 million product at its peak. Turned out this was one of the first billion-dollar products in the industry…and I can truly say that this was due to Bowes’ presence and his forcefulness in pushing this concept. Naprosyn was the product that made our company and Reg is the guy that made Naprosyn.”
For Bowes, being part of the founding of Vicom and the smashing success of Naprosyn represented an off-the-canvas comeback into Rx marketing. He had started in the business as a sales representative for Ayerst in Canada. (Bowes is from British Columbia.) He moved into advertising with a Rochester, New York, agency, became a product manager at Roche, and culminated his East Coast career as a senior vice president at the consumer agency Ted Bates, which had important pharmaceutical clients in the late ’60s. At this point, he took the unprecedented step of openly criticizing pharmaceutical promotional practices, speaking out at industry meetings and even appearing before a congressional committee investigating Rx marketing.
Explaining this period in Bowes’ life, Lester Barnett, a long-time colleague, says, “Reg is a moralist. He believes in ethics. One of the things that got him into trouble…is that he had a stance on what he believed we should be as an industry…what we should be doing and what we shouldn’t be doing.”
A successful career in medical advertising usually takes an executive to the top of an agency and then on into retirement. In the case of Phil Brady, we have someone who took this career path twice, rising through field selling into the agency world to head up an agency, and then dropping out into what appeared to be retirement only to be brought back into the business to accomplish his most noteworthy work as top management at one of the business’ biggest organizations.
Brady began, as so many have in medical advertising, as a field representative. He worked for Burroughs-Wellcome (BW) in New England for eight years and then moved to the home office’s marketing department in North Carolina. Next, he dramatically redirected his career leaving the security of an Rx company for the volatile world of advertising. His product knowledge and company background were of value to the up-and-coming Rolf Werner Rosenthal agency, which had opened its doors with BW business. Thanks to Rosenthal’s energy and the talent he attracted to RWR, the agency experienced spectacular growth to which Brady was an important contributor. He was the management executive in charge of one of the agency’s signature campaigns—the “hard hat” advertising for Marion Labs’ Cardizem that propelled the brand to over $1 billion in sales.
As Rolf Rosenthal’s health failed, the agency went through an ownership change. Brady, whose strong personality, management skills, and advertising judgment had been proven at RWR, rose to become its president. In a second ownership change, Brady, however, chose not to continue with the new management and “retired,” moving back to his New England roots on Cape Cod, where he opened a liquor store. He was, of course, sitting out his 2-year non-compete agreement that came with his leaving RWR.
Well, before the 2 years were up, Tom Ferguson had approached him but prolonged negotiations ensued. Says Ferguson, “He wasn’t anxious to jump into anything. He knows who he is and…who is the seller and the sellee. He’s a good poker player.”
With the non-compete expiring, Brady finally came to terms with Ferguson and in 1992 joined an agency that was experiencing explosive growth, comparable to what he had seen at RWR. Within a year, he was president.
Medical agencies had often set up companion companies, usually for medical education or PR, but a new corporate model developed in the 1990s. Healthcare agencies restructured with satellite agencies and specialized service companies to cover the wide range of promotional services used in Rx marketing. Ferguson moved into this model through the CommonHealth corporate entity. Brady became the management executive at CommonHealth who created this network and made it function effectively.
Says, Matt Giegerich, president, CEO, CommonHealth, “Phil brought his own connectivity to people and the trust he could build with people to bear on this idea of spinning out new entities under the CommonHealth umbrella. What Phil did was make it real by finding, mentoring, and setting in motion people who had the capacity to start and run independent divisions of a company. Taking it from a business strategy into practice is a huge gap. And what Phil did was take his gut, his visceral instincts about good people, good situations, good timing, and put it into play.”
Beyond his involvement with the core Ferguson agency, Brady was instrumental in setting up Quantum (a Rx agency specialized in DTC), Xchange (for direct marketing), Noesis (a full service ad agency specializing in sales force/physician interaction), Conectics (a media buying and placement group), and Qi (a digital and Internet communications unit). CommonHealth now has 13 operating companies with 5 major divisions: Altum, Ferguson, Adient, Noesis, and Carbon. Brady’s contribution to CommonHealth and to today’s medical advertising environment is the implementation of the agency network concept.
The quality that colleagues cite most often as enabling Brady to perform so well as an organizational executive was his judgment about the business—the people at the agency, the clients’ personnel, the creative product, and the marketing situation. Brady put all the advertising skills together, but did it through the prism of his personality. He gained the client’s trust through a straight-from-the-shoulder approach that wasn’t afraid to admit error.
Bruce Leeb, who worked with him at RWR, recalls, “He was always honest. He was always forthright. He was able to say to the client, ‘Look, we made a mistake and here’s how we are going to correct it. Everything is fine and we’ve got the product on track.’ And the client believed him…because it was true.”
Phil was also a serious, intense listener who had a natural feel for the business based on what he absorbed through, what Giegerich calls, his “management by walking about.” He drew feedback from close, person-to-person contact with art directors, copywriters, production managers, junior AEs…everyone on the account. This osmosis of ideas and attitudes would result in a direction for a campaign, the creation of a new unit, or the recruitment of a new employee. Brady’s judgment came from an instinct about policy and people. CommonHealth came to trust Brady’s advice, usually delivered after everyone else had their say.
Ferguson describes a typical session with Brady, “We could go off the beaten track in meetings. After a while, Phil would just have it right up to here and he would cut right through the bull and say, ‘What in the hell are we talking about?’ Now, he hadn’t added much to the meeting, because he listens a lot. But if we were off track, Phil put us back on track. He was a perceptive guy.”
In addition to his organizational abilities, Brady managed a number of mega brands and disease marketing programs showing he could deliver agencies’ work for maximum effect. He was a force behind the widespread and enormously successful DTC campaign for Schering’s Claritin (a breakthrough in its scope and funding) and Claritin’s line extensions. Brady was also behind outstanding advertising for Ortho Biotech’s Procrit, GSK’s Avandia’s diabetes programs, Novartis’ cardiovascular products, and the previously mentioned Cardizem.
Phil retired at the end of 2004 and is now indulging his love for golf, skiing, and spending time on Cape Cod…but without tending the cash register at Phil’s Liquor Locker.
When the origins of Rx advertising on the West Coast are discussed, the name at the top of the list is always Bob Buechert. More than any other individual, he established the medical advertising community in San Francisco. His accomplishments, principally as the key player in the creation of Vicom, were impressive, and in style, talent, and temperament, he was every inch a leader.
Buechert was from Hillside, NJ, outside of Newark. He attended Cooper Union and, after a stint in the Army, joined the Klemtner agency (at the time located in Newark) as an art director. He had the good fortune to work on the Pfizer account when that company was breaking new ground in pharmaceutical advertising and marketing. Bob was the designer on campaigns for such major products as Vibramycin, Vistaril, and Diabenese, and he rose to a management position in the creative hierarchy. One of Klemtner’s clients was Syntex, with offices in Palo Alto, CA, and servicing the account required transcontinental travel by Bob and others from New York.
This arrangement was not tenable as the account grew. So Klemtner expanded its San Francisco office, with Buechert heading up the creative department. Then, the account moved to J.W. Thompson’s Rx group, Deltakos, headed by James Barnum. Buechert moved with Syntex to that agency. When Barnum, after a dispute with JWT, set up his own agency, taking Syntex and other West Coast clients with him, Buechert joined the new Barnum agency. Soon, JWT and Barnum were mired in a suit and counter-suit. The eventual settlement allowed Buechert and senior executives to buy out Barnum, setting up a new agency—Vicom. In all this tumult, Buechert emerged as the dominant management figure in San Francisco Rx advertising—the person on whom all could agree and whom Syntex, the key account, trusted.
Buechert was well prepared for the leadership role he had assumed. He has been described as “the consummate ad man” for his full command of all aspects of agency operations and for his “instincts for the business.” This understanding probably was deepened by his experiences at agency satellite offices, where everyone was close to the workings of the organization. It may also have come from his early years as a creative manager at Klemtner. When Harry Sweeney, who worked with Bob as a copywriter at that time, joined the agency, it was, in his words “in a bit of a turmoil.”
The agency’s five partners were not on good terms, and, says Sweeney, “Bob was the fulcrum because he had the confidence of all the partners. He was kind of acting as the ‘cruise director,’ to try to keep everything calm.”
Buechert’s ability to establish calm—to be cool under pressure—is mentioned repeatedly in recollections of him. To play that “fulcrum” role at Klemtner, required knowledge of operational detail. The experience undoubtedly equipped him to be the consensus leader at Vicom in San Francisco.
The ultimate test of the ability to make a group work together is to do so, even with strong personalities who are often more interested in individual expression. Buechert played team manager for years in the hyper-creative world of San Francisco with an extremely talented and eccentric cast including such notables as the innovative Lester Barnett and the iconoclastic Reg Bowes.
Bowes often tested Buechert’s legendary powers as a negotiator with his behavior at clients. Bowes is the first to admit that he made problems for Buechert.
“Poor Bob was victimized by me,” Bowes recalls. “I was apt to say exactly what I thought, which is not always the best thing to do to get along. Bob would have to pick up all the pieces and cement them all back together…I was ready to resign the world if the world proved stupid.”
Buechert was called on again and again to smooth over Bowes’ bluntness, but he could turn his skill as a negotiator to advantage with Bowes as well. Bowes was conscious how well Buechert was handling him and coined the word “buecked” to describe Bob’s ability to get what he wanted from you while making you think you were getting what you wanted.
Says Bowes, “I defined ‘buecked’ as to be brought to two equally unsatisfactory alternatives, one of which you absolutely insist on.”
Buechert would apparently lead negotiations—with clients, employees, suppliers, and at all levels of business—to the negative consequences of a course contrary to his own and bring the persons he was negotiating with to accept something which had been “unsatisfactory” to them at the beginning. Buechert liked Bowes’ description on his negotiating method so much that he had “buecked” t-shirts made up and gave them to Vicom executives.
Buechert’s success came from more than agency knowledge and negotiating skill. He understood the client-agency dynamic. Lester Barnett, a long-time associate, sums up this important Buechert ability: “He made you think not only about building your career, but building an agency. He made you think about building clients’ careers…that if they grew, we grew. I think his leadership quality was a long-term view and I’d use the word ‘wisdom.'”
Bowes adds this about another quality: “Bob was a man who rescued you, one way or another. He was always there when you needed him.”
Buechert engineered the sale of Vicom to FCB in 1984. He stayed on until retirement in 1991. He passed away in November of 2001.
A memorable personality in pharmaceutical advertising achieves renown by leaving his mark on the industry in countless ways. With Dean Burdick, beyond his record of accomplishment as an agency leader, we can identify three prominent qualities which lead to his election to the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame.
The first was his dramatic, entrepreneurial departure in 1957 from William Douglas McAdams, where he had been a key executive, to form with Robert Becker and Don Fitzsimmons a new agency, Burdick Becker & Fitzsimmons. Up until he left McAdams, there had been no major defections from the four major agencies which had come to dominate pharmaceutical advertising after WWII-McAdams, Frohlich, Klemtner, and Sudler & Hennessey. Burdick and his partners showed that the booming market for Rx advertising and promotion could not be fully serviced by the existing agencies, that there was room for new agencies, and that clients would be receptive to those who had served their apprenticeships at the older agencies and were now willing to compete with their former employers. Burdick was a “name” at McAdams and by leaving, he set an example which others followed, “going out on their own” to found new agencies.
His second contribution was as a creator. He was a writer famous for his campaign concepts and headlines that expressed the central idea of the program. “The Boy with Green Hair” for Ayerst’s Grisactin dramatized the product by focusing on a diagnostic test that employed ultraviolet light to identify fungal infections of the scalp. “Blood, Milk, and Maalox” headlined an ad that summed up the basic therapy for ulcers before the discovery of H2 products. “Wanted: Dead Not Alive” were the attention-getting words for Ayerst ampicillin. Burdick brought this ability to the introduction of landmark drugs—Inderal, Aristocort, and Symmetrel, for example. At a time when avant-garde graphics were the hallmark of Rx advertising, Burdick matched their excellence with equally contemporary and imaginative writing.
His third contribution was as the nurturer of account service talent. Burdick, described as a shy man, chose not to personally represent the work of his agency, Dean L. Burdick Associates. He socialized with company executives, particularly on the golf course, but he usually avoided the presentation of his ads, leaving that to his account executives. Moreover, because he concentrated on writing, he also delegated to his account personnel the management of the financial, media, and production aspects of the business. As a result, to be an account person at his agency was to experience a crash course in all phases of agency operations.
One of the Burdick “alumni” who went on to become a leader in the field describes his experience at the agency: “It was a great thing for young people…you had to do everything…get the bills out…do the media schedules…write your own programs…sometimes write copy. When I made my first move [to another agency] I was amazed that there were people there to do copy, send out bills, proofreading, and media because I was used to doing most of that myself…it was a great place to learn.”
Burdick took company sales representatives directly from the field and made them account executives with the responsibility to represent the agency and to sell the advertising he had created. Recruitment from Rx sales forces is not unusual, but what was notable at Burdick’s agency was the absence of supervision. His system worked because he was a remarkable judge of talent and character and because he inspired intense loyalty from his staff. The young men he brought in from the field and to whom he had given so much opportunity responded with dedication to their work and to Dean. As one recalls, “He had a charisma that got people to want to help him.”
Burdick was equally loyal to his staff and as time went by, he and a core of long-time employees found it increasingly difficult to make the organizational and staff changes a more competitive agency demanded. The agency eventually had to be closed and Burdick became a creative consultant on a number of industry projects.
Dean died in 1984. As an important participant in the industry’s boom in the ’50s, his memorable advertising for pharmaceuticals advanced the level of healthcare advertising. Additionally, his agency provided a training ground for a group of Rx marketing executives who went on to successful careers in the industry. It is because of these reasons that he is remembered with such respect and affection.
When Lou Carrafiello left McCann Erickson in 1971, he was, for a time, more interested in buying a lumberyard than staying in advertising. As his son Gerry, who is now president of Carrafiello Diehl & Associates, tells the story, “My father was a great carpenter and a mason, too. When he quit McCann…I guess he got tired of riding the train to the city. There was an old lumberyard in town, and he had admired this lumberyard for years, and he [approached the owner] and said ‘I just quit my job and I’d like to buy your lumberyard.’ The owner said, ‘Lou, I’d love to sell it to you, but I already sold it.’ So at that point, he went home and said to my mother, ‘Look, I’m in trouble now.’ Which he really wasn’t. But then, he and Dick Diehl got together in our dining room and launched an agency.” They opened CDA in the New York suburb of Tarrytown, and it remains today one of the oldest independent healthcare agencies.
Carrafiello began in the field with Pfizer where, as a star salesperson, he was advanced to the marketing department at the home office in New York. Madison Avenue was just around the corner and consumer agencies, at that time, had assignments for the professional advertising of pharmaceuticals. Carrafiello made the switch to the Erwin Wasey agency, putting his Rx experience to work on the Lederle account. When that agency was folded into the Interpublic network, Carrafiello decided on a career change and, briefly, toyed with the idea of the lumber business.
Once CDA was founded, however, it was logical that Carrafiello pitch his old client Lederle. With typical Carrafiello enthusiasm, he went in asking for the whole account and came away with one assignment on the antibiotic Achromycin—the first of many brands he was to handle over the years for Lederle. Within the Lederle work was Stresstabs, a multivitamin, marketed principally to MDs to gain their recommendations but with limited consumer advertising. Carrafiello saw the opportunity to build on the brand’s professional base with a stronger print program to consumers and convinced Lederle to try the idea. Stresstabs sales increased markedly, making the product the leader in the category. Carrafiello had hit on the productive model of combining professional and consumer programs. He put it to work on other Lederle products—Centrum multivitamins, Caltrate calcium supplements, Fibercon fiber supplement, and Sensodyne toothpaste for Block Drug.
At the same time it was handling non-Rx health products, CDA gained business on prescription drugs. Carrafiello tapped into his Pfizer contacts for work on Sinequan and Diabenese and won business from other pharmaceutical companies: Boehringer-Ingelheim for Catapres TTS, Miles (Bayer) for Mycelex and Adalat, Winthrop for Talwin, and Knoll for Vicodin. This company/product mix produced a unique agency culture with work on scientifically-oriented products moving through CDA alongside assignments for consumer-oriented brands.
Gerry Carrafiello describes the agency staff: “There were people with Rx disciplines and with consumer disciplines. They were experienced in doing 30- and 15-second television commercials, and sales aids, convention panels, or physician education programs. They weren’t locked in to [one media]…and whether they designed a consumer program or a journal ad, it would be seamless in terms of who these folks were and how they worked together.”
In command of this variety of promotional work was Lou Carrafiello, who held it together by the high standard he set at CDA for advertising that built brands through compelling ideas in copy and graphics. Says Bob Brandt, who worked with Lou for many years, “He loved ideas. He had a passion for ideas. He didn’t want to be pigeon-holed as an account man or a creative guy. He was the creative director of the agency. He was the president. He was a generalist. He was a marvelous combination.”
His years at Pfizer had given Carrafiello an appreciation of the scientific basis of healthcare products, while his time at a consumer agency had taught him the value of memorable, succinct selling messages. His client at Block Drug, Peter Mann, says of Lou, “He understood how to capture the essence of products in a handful of words that sunk into consumers’ brains and made them remember product benefits. He was the best I’ve ever seen at that.”
Brandt agrees: “Lou was a wonderful writer. He had the ability to capture in a few words a fundamentally powerful idea. And then, he had the ability to sell that idea.”
For example, CDA’s highly successful advertising for Stresstabs featured a candle “burning at both ends” to illustrate the need for vitamins with hard-driving patients. On the vitamin/mineral combination Centrum, the slogan was “From A to Zinc.” On Sensodyne toothpaste, the threat of tooth loss signaled by sensitivity to heat or cold was dramatized by a campaign on “The Domino Effect.”
Carrafiello’s dedication to creating strong selling ideas won trust from his clients. Brandt says, “Lou had an incredible ability to gain the confidence of clients, who would often let their confidence in him be the deciding factor in whether or not to buy an advertising campaign, a media idea, a marketing idea, or a new product.”
Carrafiello also won loyalty at clients and with his staff through his open, outgoing, hands-on style, his self-deprecating sense of humor, and his willingness to help young people grow at his agency. His unexpected fatal heart attack in 1993 devastated all who knew him. The agency regrouped around its senior executives and his son Gerry, and Carrafiello Diehl & Associates continues today, following in the traditions of its founder.
Gerry Carrafiello once asked his father what would have happened if he had bought the lumberyard. Would he have been happy with such a small business? Lou, with characteristically entrepreneurial spirit, came back with, “Who said we’d just be in Ossining, New York? We’d be the biggest lumberyard on the East Coast!”
Gerry recalls, “I looked at him with a little bit of ‘That’s-a-pretty-cocky-answer’ expression. And then I realized that it was probably true.”
Commenting on the many roles William “Cas” Castagnoli has played in medical advertising and healthcare communications, David Gideon, executive director of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame and the former publisher of Medical Marketing & Media (MM&M), observes that, “The remarkable thing about Cas is that his career, for most people, would have been over when he retired from Medicus. Instead, he started on a whole new series of careers.”
Over a span of more than 50 years, Castagnoli has worked in health-related public relations, medical advertising, pharmaceutical journalism, volunteer programs on drug abuse, as consultant to agencies and professional groups, and as organizer and director of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame and the Association of Medical Media (formerly AMP) the Doctors’ Choice Awards.
Castagnoli started as a beginner in public relations with the Queensboro and New York Tuberculosis Associations in 1954 after serving in the army during the Korean War, and then moved on in 1958 to the PR unit of the L.W. Frohlich advertising agency. A year later he began his advertising career when he moved to the ad agency’s traffic department. After 13 years, when the agency closed due to Frohlich’s untimely death in 1971, he had risen to become one of 3 vice presidents, group supervisors.
In the fragmentation of the agency that followed, Castagnoli, together with Ed Dent and Larry Lesser, took 16 fellow Frohlich employees with them in 1972 to partner with the consumer agency Benton & Bowles to form a new medical agency. Larry Lesser, a co-founder of the agency recalls, “When we started, the three of us assumed very different roles. One of the key things was what we were going to call ourselves. And that assignment went to Bill, who was particularly good as a historian and a writer to [create] what we should be called. And he did…Medicus Communications was his child.”
Medicus began with 3 sizable accounts—Merrell Dow, Schering-Plough, and Procter & Gamble. Over the next 20 years, Castagnoli helped build Medicus into one of the leading healthcare ad agencies in the world. In 1992, he retired from the agency as president (USA/Canada) and vice-chairman.
After his retirement from the agency world, based on his interest in writing, he entered a new field when he accepted an offer from Gideon to become a contributing editor for Medical Marketing & Media. From 1992 to 2003, his feature articles on pharmaceutical advertising/marketing appeared regularly in MM&M, covering such topics as the Washington Legal Foundation’s challenge to FDA regulations, the emergence of dietary supplements as alternatives to Rx products, reviews of advertising award shows and new campaigns, and roundtable discussions in which he served as moderator.
On Castagnoli’s contribution to MM&M, Gideon says, “I looked at him within our editorial team as sort of [our] Woodward/Bernstein. He identified topics…things that were important and not necessarily always marketing oriented, things that the industry should address.”
Castagnoli also authored a series using a fictional agency copy chief named Brad Banner. Gideon describes the dialogue pieces: “Brad Banner was a sage, wise, senior agency exec who worked both the creative and management sides, as Cas did. Younger people would come into Brad’s office and ask advice [on medical advertising]. Brad would dispense advice that always turned out to be right on the mark. So he, to me, was relaying his experience, wisdom, and advice to younger people—but not doing it by preaching to them as Bill Castagnoli, but as this whimsical, humorous, fictional character.”
In 1996 when David Gideon and Ron Pantello, then the chief officer of Lally McFarland & Pantello, conceived of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame, they turned to Castagnoli, with his knowledge and access to the leadership of medical advertising agencies, to organize the group’s original executive committee.
Pantello sums up Castagnoli’s 10 years with the MAHF: “Cas came on board as executive director, and it was a good decision. He ran the meetings, the agenda…was responsible for the [early] videos…pulled off the events…worked with the vendors…and saw that all the voting was proper and fair. [Also] I think Cas’ great contribution was his oversight and development of Medicine Ave, the only book ever written about medical advertising. I think Cas shares a unique quality that everyone I’ve dealt with on the executive committee shares…that is to give something back to the industry that’s been good to them, and that they care about what has happened in the past…but also how we can make the future better. All Cas did throughout his career, we were able to capitalize on and used to make the MAHF what it is today.”
It was through the MAHF that Castagnoli took on the Doctors’ Choice Awards.
Alan Imhoff, president of the International Medical News Group, describes a meeting in 2004 with Pantello, which he had initiated because of the MAHF’s success, to ask advice on an advertising award program sponsored by the AMP: “We figured he could give us some pointers on how it might go. And at the meeting with Ron and Bill, Ron was very helpful and said, ‘Bill, what do you think?’ Cas just about jumped on the table and said, ‘I definitely want to do this. This is unique. It doesn’t exist anywhere in the world.’ It just knocked us back. He was so enthusiastic.”
It was an enormous amount of work. We started in January [to] put on the event in the fall. So it was a ridiculous time frame, but we pulled it off. I remember walking into the event…and here were 400 people in black tie. It was just amazing that Cas, in effect, had willed this thing to happen in 9 months.”
Reviewing Castagnoli’s career, Bill Mulligan, now with Chameleon Communications, who worked with him at Medicus says, “Think about [his] decades in the industry, on the probably hundreds or thousands of people he had a positive impact on. He would help on the creative side…on the account side. He was always there for you. I think, he was a remarkable man and made an impact on a lot of lives.”
Castagnoli still continues to do some work for the industry. He and his wife Carole and a Maltese terrier named Cannoli live in NYC and in Dutchess County, New York.
Lansing Chapman was born in 1888, educated at Williams College, and, on graduation in 1910, went into the expanding advertising business. He sold space for trade publications and then moved to the client side, becoming advertising manager for Becton Dickinson. There he became involved in medical marketing.
In 1918, he identified a need in the marketplace. Physician income in America was on the rise, but doctors were not prepared as business people for their new wealth or growing practices. A publication dedicated to serving this audience with financial information and management advice had potential. Chapman worked on the idea by himself and then, fortunately, found the ideal collaborator—Dr. H. Sheridan Baketel, a practicing physician who had worked as a medical director for a pharmaceutical company and, most importantly, had experimented with teaching young doctors the business aspects of medicine. Chapman and Baketel capitalized their venture with $4,000 each and the first issues of Medical Economics were sent free to physicians in October 1923. It ran 48 pages with 17 advertisements.
Reception among physicians was positive, but critical voices challenged Medical Economics on two fronts. Spokesmen for organized medicine, the publishers of clinical journals, found fault with Medical Economics’ financial orientation, preferring doctors as scientists and not businessmen. Additionally, Medical Economics’ “controlled circulation” distribution and its reliance on advertising was said to foster, as one critic put it, a “cash above conscience” editorial policy.
Neither critique has stood the test of time. Medical Economics will celebrate its 85th year of publication in 2008—a testament to Chapman and Baketel’s vision of what the publication could become.
Medical Economics pursued its editorial direction through the Depression years of the 1930s and the war years of the 1940s, giving doctors practical advice and information on how to manage their practices in these changing social settings.
After World War II, when pharmaceutical marketing suddenly became a major promotional arena, the publication truly prospered. Medical Economics became a basic building block in advertising programs for the antibiotics, steroids, psychotropics, and antidiabetics that came on the scene to revolutionize the practice of medicine. Medical Economics was a must on every journal schedule.
Chapman responded to the burgeoning of pharmaceutical advertising with innovations to keep Medical Economics in a leadership position. He established an in-house research department that conducted pre- and post-studies of the publication’s features and news articles. He also was the first to provide advertisers with readership data. He expanded the reach of the company by adding new titles to its publishing base.
Lansing Chapman died in 1960. He lived long enough to see his creation become fabulously successful financially and highly admired in publication circles for its editorial excellence. In his later years, he was active in business press trade organizations and played a role in raising the standard in medical publishing. He passed the torch on to his son, Bill Chapman, who demonstrated that a sound idea has limitless possibilities by greatly expanding the company’s scope of operations and maintaining its position as a leader in publications serving healthcare audiences.
Throughout his 40-year career in medical publishing, Dick Cliggott showed a remarkable ability to recognize the potential of new communication strategies and an unwavering commitment to the value of editorial quality. Just as important, at a critical time in the evolution of the medical publishing industry Dick Cliggott served as a forceful and consistent advocate of business integrity.
After growing up on Cape Cod, serving in the U. S. Army, and graduating from Cornell University, Dick began his career as a district sales manager with Procter & Gamble in 1954. He returned to Cornell for two years as associate director of development, then entered medical publishing when he joined Medical Economics Company in 1959. Over the next decade he rose through the ranks to become vice president and publisher of Hospital Physician.
Dick’s breakthrough moment came when he was one of the first to perceive the need for a new category of journals to serve the specific clinical information needs of primary care physicians. In 1970 he founded Cliggott Publishing Company to purchase Consultant, then a house organ for Smith Kline & French Laboratories. He re-launched it as an independent journal for a controlled circulation of family physicians, general internists, general practitioners, and osteopaths—the “minimass” audience, as it came to be known.
Dick and his associates represented a top-tier sales team and Consultant experienced early success. Still, in what was becoming an ever more crowded market, Dick quickly recognized that successful medical publishers would have to raise the bar for editorial quality and made a long-term commitment to building and supporting a strong and deep editorial team. Editorial excellence became a hallmark of Cliggott Publishing.
Over the next quarter century he continued to be an innovator in the medical publishing field. In addition to launching several new medical journals, he was the originator or an early proponent of a variety of strategies that may seem obvious today but were unusual at the time.
In the early 1970s, he was among the first journal publishers to embrace the opportunities of building a medical education business.
In 1979, he launched the first journal to define its circulation based on high-prescriber profiles.
In the 1980s, he was an early advocate of database communications.
In the 1990s, he was an early investor in online educational services for physicians.
Dick was a tall, imposing figure. Early in life he was an outstanding athlete, attending Cornell on an athletic scholarship. Despite mid-career cardiac problems, he would nevertheless always appear strong and vigorous. He was unfailingly courteous and polite, with a wry sense of humor and an old-school, gentlemanly style that belied – or perhaps accentuated – his ability to sit in a meeting and quickly cut through the nonsense. He was famous for the kindnesses he showed employees at difficult moments in their personal lives. His honesty and integrity are unimpeachable and he earned the respect of countless persons throughout the industry, including clients and competitors.
Integrity was an important concept to him. He was a co-founder and, in 1977, the second president of the Association of Medical Publications (now the Association of Medical Media), seeing it as an important forum to help set higher standards for journal publishers. Within the AMP, the Pharmaceutical Advertising Council (now HMCA), and other industry groups, Dick was a forceful advocate for the value of medical journals and the long-term importance of editorial quality and business integrity. As a long-time employee said, even when times were tough, Dick would never cut corners or compromise the integrity of his journals.
Dick retired in 1998 and passed away in 2007. His legacy lives on through the many people who worked for him and have risen to prominent positions throughout the medical communications industry, and the many friends and colleagues who revere his friendship and memory.
It is not unusual for people who have made their marks in the world at large to leave their pasts behind. Morgan E. Cline has done just the opposite. He has turned his attention to his boyhood home—the farming community of Centerville, Iowa—with affectionate generosity to “revive the spirit of the town.” He has made sizeable donations and investments to restore the downtown including remodeling a theater and funding a hospital/nursing home. He is helping to turn Centerville around and, in the process, he is celebrating the work ethic of his early roots that some of his colleagues consider the foundation of his success.
Josh Prince, creative director (copy) at CDM, says, “Morgan is someone who understands where he came from and what it took to get him where he is…Morgan is committed to giving opportunities to other people to achieve the same thing and to giving back to the communities and organizations that made a difference to him along the way.”
Cline left Centerville Journal College on a scholarship to study pharmacy at nearby Drake University. (He has given $5 million to the school for scholarships and there is now a Morgan E. Cline Hall of Pharmacy and Science on the campus.) He had ambitions to become a doctor and spent 2 years in pre-med. But service in the army interrupted this plan and, on discharge, he became a practicing pharmacist. His education and pharmacy experience have greatly influenced his approach to medical advertising.
He entered the agency world through the Burdick agency—a shop noted for recruiting promising talent from the drug field for account people. Then, after a brief stop at Becker, he joined Klemtner Advertising, beginning a 17-year career. At Klemter, he worked on such accounts as Lederle, Ayerst, Abbott, USV, and, most importantly, Pfizer. Eventually, Cline became president of the agency.
At Klemtner he developed his relationship with Pfizer on such blockbuster brands as Terramycin, Vibramycin, and Diabenese. One successful campaign that bears Cline’s stamp for a science-oriented marketing strategy expressed through a memorable creative execution was the Vibramycin program that focused on the product’s absorbability. The campaign’s theme was “the tissue is the issue,” and demonstrated the antibiotic’s cellular penetration through images of radio-tagged Vibramycin at the sites of infection.
In 1984, together with designer Clyde Davis and writer Fred Mann, he formed Cline Davis & Mann (CDM). Cline’s operating style is a primer on the ideal account manager. He was remarkably attentive to client attitudes and sensibilities.
Says Ed Wise, CDM’s president and CEO, “Morgan was an incredible listener…a very hard listener…very inquisitive of what their actual needs were…dug into the client…so he wasn’t running off with his own ideas.”
He also operated at all client levels. Clyde Davis, a founder of CDM, comments on Cline’s in-depth approach: “I don’t think there was a person at Pfizer that didn’t want to work with Morgan or didn’t like him. He knew everyone on the floor, from the mailroom all the way up to the top of the division and the company.”
This understanding of client needs led to an intense involvement with the agency’s creative product, as Jack Solanker, CDM’s chairman and COO, reports, “He was probably the most creative account person I’ve ever seen, and always took a hand in the creative product. You knew if you got creative work past Morgan…it was pretty damn good.”
But Cline’s review of creative work went beyond execution. He shaped the message, insisting on ideas with broad scope.
Wise says, “Morgan was demanding of the creative process. You couldn’t take another step until you had that big idea. He’d get to a point when he’d pound his fists on the desk and say, ‘It’s not big enough! We’ve got to make this idea bigger.’ It was a challenge, but he really pushed us to some terrific heights.”
As a result of his high standards, clients relied on Cline’s judgment. Ed Wise said, “Morgan wanted solid science that was filled with substance. That was what he was all about…I don’t think he was into far-fetched metaphors. He felt there was power in the true medicine and the science.”
The Cline marketing/creative philosophy at CDM has contributed to the sales programs of a number of Pfizer brands—Viagra, Lipitor, Zithromax, Neurontin, Diflucan, and Norvasc—creating an impressive run of marketing successes.
To see Cline only through his career in medical advertising does not reveal the full man. When he lived in Hoboken, NJ, he was instrumental in the renewal of the community, refurbishing brownstones and helping form a chamber music group. He hosts an annual cancer charity ball at his present home in Monmouth County, NJ, that is attended by over 1,000 guests.
His creative abilities extend beyond the Rx promotional message. Having studied at Julliard, he is an accomplished pianist—from Chopin to popular music. He is absolutely disinterested in sports, disliking, say his friends, “anything in uniforms.” Given the fascination among most clients for athletics, Cline’s aversion to sports speaks to his impressive abilities as an account person. Instead, his passion is opera and he has a box at the Met.
Cline is clearly a man of great depth. Intriguingly, he has put all his abilities and tastes together into the job of running an agency to become what Carol DiSanto, director of client services at CDM, calls a “magical person.” His partner, Clyde Davis, pays him this tribute: “A big man…on a big stage…with big ideas…with a big heart.”
American medicine underwent drastic reform in the first two decades of this century. The folk medicine and shadowy knowledge of the late 1800s were replaced by the science of Pasteur, Lister, and Koch. Through the effort of the American Medical Association (AMA), standards were raised in physician education, licensure, and hospital affiliation. To improve treatment, America, in effect, gave to the generation of Progressive Era physicians control over medical practice, often by legal statute. For example, potent drugs became available only through an MD’s prescription.
This domination by physicians extended to medical journals, which were published by state and local societies and the AMA (eg, JAMA). The line was broken by Medical Economics (ME)in 1922, but clinical journals were the province of organized medicine. Jacob G. Cohen was to change this system, moved by his entrepreneurial instincts and a need by practicing MDs to keep abreast with the rapid pace of medical practice.
“Jack” Cohen was a graduate in chemistry from the University of Minnesota. After graduation in the late 1920s, he began writing a health column for a local newspaper. With his interest aroused on the subject of health, he and his brother, Lou, purchased the dental publication Dental Practice—one of the first “controlled circulation” professional journals. A short time later, they acquired the journal Lancet, which was the publication of the Minnesota Medical Society. The stage was set in 1931 for the next big step—Modern Medicine (MM).
Just as ME had met a need among MDs for help in managing the financial side of their practices, MM was designed to help physicians deal with their informational needs to keep up with the expanding medical literature. It was pocket-sized for on-the-go reading with short, to-the-point abstracts of significant research papers. Distributed free to physicians, it was the first independently published clinical journal. Success was immediate as practicing MDs, particularly general practitioners, saw its value in keeping them current with the latest findings.
Not surprisingly, the establishment did not look favorably on Modern Medicine invading its domain. No less a figure than JAMA’s formidable editor, Dr. Morris Fishbein, attacked “controlled circulation,” nonofficial medical publications in an editorial, calling them “throw-away journals” and suggesting that they be shunned by AMA members. Cohen’s response was to commission the Starch Research Organization to conduct one of the first readership studies of a medical journal. The study showed that Fishbein’s admonition was not being followed by physicians: Modern Medicine’s readership was equal to that of any official clinical publication. This landmark study ushered in a new era of data-oriented media analysis in journal selection.
Cohen went on to other publishing ventures, founding Geriatrics in 1946, Postgraduate Medicine in 1947, and Neurology in 1951. Additionally he launched international editions of Modern Medicine beginning with Canada in 1946 and eventually extending publication to Europe and Asia.
Over the years, Modern Medicine Publications, Inc., which had begun with a partnership between two brothers, became even more of a family business, including the Cohen’s brothers-in-law, Marvin and Jay Herz, their nephew, Burt Cohen, and other family members.
All publications, except Postgraduate Medicine, were sold in the early 1960s and have passed through several owners since then. Modern Medicine is now an Advanstar property. Postgraduate Medicine was acquired by McGraw-Hill from the Cohens in the late 1960s.
After a long and productive career, Cohen retired. He remained active with Minneapolis charities. He died in 1952.
The promotional ideas that advertising agencies produce are a meld of creativity, marketing, salesmanship, strategic thinking, and media knowledge. But within this mix is another potent influence for gaining and holding accounts and making the client/agency relationship productive. This element is the personal relationships that agency leaders develop within their organization and with their opposite number on the client side. Norman Cooper, well versed in the advertising disciplines, added this personal dimension to his dealings with clients and colleagues, and this ability made for an outstanding career.
Company executives and those who worked with him use different language to describe the strong interpersonal talent that was central to Cooper’s effectiveness. Marcia McLaughlin, who was a beginner in medical advertising under Cooper at KPR and is now president of Centron, says of him, “The thing that’s made Norman most successful is really the way he deals with people. More than anything, he is fair and honest and has a tremendous amount of integrity. People recognize that, whether they’re clients [or] people who work for him, he’s somebody who you just want to be with.”
“If you ask me what makes Norman unique,” says Milton Loeb, who knew him as his account person when he was an ad manager and subsequently worked with him at KPR, “I would have to go to my thesaurus and the word that would pop up would be integrity. This is what the man is made of…not only with fellow workers, but I believe that our clients picked this up. They knew they were going to get a day’s work out of this man and an honest day’s work.”
And this was the case as recalled by Alan Steigrod, a former executive vice president of marketing and sales at Glaxo, a KPR client, who adds to this assessment of Cooper: “He was straightforward. He was “straight speak.” He told you things good and bad. If there was a program that he felt was a mistake for the agency, he’d discuss it with you. If he felt that there was a mistake internally at Glaxo, he’d tell you. That kind of advice is invaluable.” With this mandate of trust, Cooper was an effective leader at KPR.
Cooper’s background as a writer was appropriate when he joined KPR, where the founders were creative talents John Kallir and Warren Ross (copywriters) and Jerry Philips (an art director). However, as Loeb recalls, “When KPR hired Norm as a copywriter, they also hired him because of his ability to know and understand the marketing of pharmaceutical products. And this helped to complement their strengths in writing and creativity. This was one of the major forces, I think, that helped to grow KPR into the agency that Norman brought it up to. He kept hiring more people with marketing expertise. He saw that [was] the way to go.”
Within Cooper’s profile, other qualities have been noted. For example, McLaughlin notes that he was “cool, calm, collected…leadership by example.” Robert Croce, a J&J executive for whom Cooper worked for years characterizes him as “likable…a pleasant, caring man [who] treated people in a first-class way.”
However, under Cooper’s smooth, friendly exterior was also a compelling competitive spirit. According to David Chapman, a top CommonHealth executive who knew him at KPR, he possessed a passionate instinct to win. “I think what drove Norm,” he says, “was clearly the idea of making KPR the single most successful agency. We were going to win and be bigger and we were going to grow. We set out and really did everything we could to make it number one.”
Cooper’s competitive drive extended beyond advertising. Loeb remembers a pick-up basketball game with Cooper: “He always had it. Proof is we had a meeting at a hotel, and we decided to set up a little basketball. I was shocked at the drive. He wasn’t the tallest man on the court, but there was a drive that he had that showed us he wanted to win. He wanted to win as the agency of record for every company as the best, and, of course, you may have heard he likes the track. He likes to win there, too.”
Michael Mazzei, a founder of the West Coast agency Baxter Gurian & Mazzei for whom Cooper worked when he was an ad manager at Riker, tells about a day at the races with Norm: “He wanted to go to Santa Anita in Pasadena. He liked to play the ponies. It was a wonderful afternoon. But what struck me was that he bet on a horse and he won…but he was sad about it! And I said, why are you sad? He said it didn’t win by enough. The horse should have done better. A reflection on himself that he always pushed to do a better job. Certainly, for me and Riker, and I guess for his other clients.”
Cooper’s goal of achieving leadership in medical advertising came in 1991 when KPR was the largest Rx agency in the US with him serving as the agency’s CEO.
In his 30 years at KPR, Cooper was the agency leader on successful programs for many upper tier Rx companies such as Glaxo (antibiotics, anti-virals, and asthma products), Ortho (oral contraceptives, dermatologicals, and biotech brands), Janssen (anesthesia and psychotropic products), Roche, Syntex, and Merck. He was an early public voice for conversion to fee compensation with a 1981 article in Pharmaceutical Executive entitled, “Does the Commission System Still Work?” He is also credited with integrating KPR into the Omnicom network.
Alan Steigrod sums up Cooper’s most important characteristic: “Number one would be honesty. Number two would be creativity. And number three would be total openness regarding what’s good and what’s bad.”
Finally, Marcia McLaughin: “He would not stop at anything to win, but at the same time, he would do it in a way where he treated people well. He was fair to people. He never hurt anyone, and he brought people along with him for the win. He didn’t want to win alone. He wanted to win as a group.”
Frank Corbett founded his advertising agency in 1962, in Chicago. Naturally, he’s identified with that city, but his career in pharmaceutical marketing had its earliest beginnings in New York City. It was there that he was a teenage delivery boy for Cut Rate Drugs. Corbett grew up in Manhattan, attending parochial and high school there and also Columbia University where he earned a degree in pharmacy in 1938. In 1941, he went to work as a sales representative for Upjohn. After 2 years of calling on physicians, he left to gain retail sales experience with Rexall Drug and then, in 1944, he joined the marketing department of William R. Warner.
When a 1946 merger resulted in downsizing at Warner, Corbett moved to a unit of the Lambert Company in California. Another corporate consolidation found him uncertain about his future with the company. When an opportunity came to join a newly formed advertising agency in Chicago, he went to the Midwest in 1951 to begin his career in medical advertising.
The agency was Jordan Sieber. Corbett’s sales and marketing experience proved valuable background in advertising and he advanced rapidly to become a partner in 1956. The agency was renamed Jordan Sieber Corbett. By 1962, Corbett left this partnership for another, establishing Frank J. Corbett, Inc. with his wife Dolores as creative director and a partner in the new agency. Their first account was Westwood Pharmaceuticals. Baxter, Lakeside, and Eaton were soon added to the FJC roster.
The Corbett agency, with Frank in a hands-on role, helped build such leadership brands as Keri Lotion and Fostex for Westwood, Synthroid for Flint, and Bronchometer for Breon. He was innovative in the use of feedback mechanisms in direct mail; for the sales force, he experimented with a Super 8 Kodak film shown by representatives to physicians in their offices that made Beecham’s Amoxil, for a time, the top-selling antibiotic in the US. Influenced by the key role of Dolores Corbett in operations, the agency was in the forefront in advancing women to positions of authority. In a memorable first in the history of our business, Frank J. Corbett, Inc. was the first medical agency to be acquired by a large consumer advertising agency. In 1972, BBDO purchased Corbett, establishing a precedent which has become a significant ownership trend in our field.
Corbett’s years in pharmacy, field sales, company marketing departments, and in running an advertising agency, gave him practical insights into all aspects of pharmaceutical promotion and an unusual perspective on developments in the market. He was the “complete professional” who put his personal knowledge to work for his clients with energy and creativity. In operating his agency, he ran a “tight ship,” but at the same time, was known for his warm sense of humor, the friendly work environment he created, and his polite, gentlemanly manner. He cared about his staff, seeing the BBDO acquisition as a mean of assuring the continued growth of their careers.
Long after he had relinquished operational responsibilities, he maintained an office at the agency and kept in touch with the business. He formally retired in 1997.
Over his lengthy career, John Corcoran has established an impressive list of accomplishments matched by few in the industry. In addition to a record of successful management of a long list of organizations and enterprises, he was a pioneer in exporting the concept and practices of medical advertising from the U.S. to the rest of the world, helping to turn the medical advertising profession into an international business.
John Corcoran started his 40-year health care industry career after a successful stint as a United States Marine Corps officer. The Corps instilled discipline and focus, and the ability to get the job done, valuable qualities in business as well as the military. Little did John realize that this military experience would serve him well for the next four decades.
John began his career in our industry as a salesman for Lederle Laboratories before moving to the agency side. During his career in advertising, he managed numerous divisions of both domestic and international medical advertising agencies, including positions as CEO r EuroRSCG Life, President and creator of Sudler & Hennesey’s International Network, and COO of FCB Healthcare. Most recently he was one of the founding partners and served as President and COO of HealthSTAR communications.
Over the years, John has worked in most of the world’s major international health care markets servicing such major companies as Merck, Astra, Hoechst, ICI, Lederle, ICN, Nestle, Colgate, SKB, GSK, Du Pont, Roche, Wellcome, Warner Lambert, Solvay plus many more. Over the course of his career, he gained experience that encompassed almost every major therapeutic category.
Perhaps John’s greatest achievement was the exporting of medical advertising from the United States to the rest of the world. He personally created Sudler & Hennessey’s first international office in Sydney. Working out of a small, cramped office together with Mike Norton, he quickly established a thriving business. As Norton recalls, after start up, the business grew rapidly, to the point where they were handling competitive products, with the agreement of the competitors.
Leaving S&H’s offices in Australia, John headed to Europe where he opened offices in several countries. As President of Sudler and Hessessey and member of the Young & Rubicam International Board he was responsible for establishing and managing an 11-agency international healthcare network. He established a joint venture with Dentsu in Tokyo, Frankfurt, and London. Later he opened offices in Paris and Rome. John was a pioneer in establishing the first truly global medical advertising agency network.
Upon returning to the United States after 18 successful years, John became the COO for FCB Healthcare. According to DraftFCB CEO Tom Domanico, the agency needed to increase its presence in east coast markets and was looking for someone with the managerial skills to make it happen. John was the perfect fit, with exactly the skills and ability needed. He was responsible for a multi-service network with offices in New York, California, and Pennsylvania. During his tenure at FCB he was involved in major product launches for Singulair, Zocor, Imitrex, Fosamax, Zyban and many other major brands. John also instituted the first account planning service offered by a U.S. healthcare agency, something he brought from Europe. Under John’s leadership revenue grew over 500 percent in an eight-year period.
Finally, John was a long standing member of the Executive Committee of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame and one of its founding members. During his tenure with the MAHF, John could always be counted upon to support the organization, and was responsible in large part for the development of its new, expanded structure.
As a Marine officer, agency executive, innovator, and contributor to the industry, John Corcoran has always demonstrated leadership, integrity, and uncommon management skills which have earned him the respect and admiration of his colleagues.
Scott Cotherman lives for the future. He predicts where the healthcare world is going, and works hard to shape the future into something we can all embrace. For 35 years, Scott used his visionary talents through his work at CAHG, his leadership of organizations such as the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame, and his philanthropy and industry-building charitable endeavors.
Scott graduated from Ball State University with a BS in business administration and psychology, and attended graduate school at the University of Chicago. His first job was in human resources with American Hospital Supply Corporation (now part of Baxter), followed by sales with Ormco, a leader in the orthodontic supplies business. It was at Ormco that, as a client, Scott was first exposed to the healthcare advertising industry. He approached one of the founders of Dimensional Marketing, Inc. (DMI), and asked for a job. After five years at DMI he made the move to Frank J. Corbett, Inc. (now Corbett Accel Healthcare Group [CAHG],) where he rose to CEO.
Scott was only the agency’s third CEO. In his 27 years with the agency, 15 as CEO, Scott guided CAHG and the TBWA\WorldHealth network to a Top 10 industry position. The agency served multinational healthcare manufacturers such as Alcon, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead, Merck, Otsuka America, Roche Diagnostics, and Sanofi, among others. Scott’s singular focus was always securing the present by investing in the future. He believed leadership talent, surrounded by the right culture, would develop leadership brands, and successful brands would ultimately create more enduring success for the agency. To this day, 80 percent of the agency’s SVPs have been with the agency for five years or more, and every member of the current senior leadership team has been with CAHG for 10 years or more.
As a result of all of these accomplishments, Scott and CAHG received significant industry recognition. He was named to PharmaVoice’s inaugural list of the 100 Most Inspiring People in the Healthcare Industry. CAHG received the Vision Award from Medical Advertising News for its innovative personalized healthcare practice, which was cited as best representing the healthcare communications agency of the future.
Scott pushed clients to “be bold or be forgotten.” Under his leadership, many number one brands were born and remained leaders for decades. CAHG enjoyed 13 years as AOR for ABILIFY. Despite being the sixth atypical antipsychotic to enter this crowded market, ABILIFY was named one of the top 10 launches of its time and became the number one brand in U.S. sales prior to patent expiry in May of 2015. Other successful case studies include SOVALDI and HARVONI, recently recognized as the number one and number two best launches in pharmaceutical history.
Scott understood the importance of scale. He led the expansion of CAHG from a Chicago-based agency to an agency with a strong presence in New York and San Francisco and grew the agency’s global footprint by singularly aligning with TBWA\WorldHealth, where he became chairman of the network, spanning 48 offices across 36 countries.
Scott has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Coalition for Healthcare Communication (CHC). Scott was the first among agency leaders to alert the Coalition to the danger created by a legislative proposal, later a statute, passed by Vermont and other states that banned the marketing use of prescription data by biopharmaceutical companies. “Under Scott’s leadership, the Coalition immediately focused on the issue, and created an informal industry coalition that supported a legal challenge to the Vermont law,” says John Kamp. That challenge led to the landmark US Supreme Court decision in IMS v. Sorrell, which found that drug marketing was protected by the First Amendment and that the Vermont law was unconstitutional.
Scott’s focus on the future was a cornerstone of his three-year tenure as Chairperson of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame. He recognized that the organization needed to evolve, to broaden its mission and be reflective of the needs of the rapidly changing industry. Scott oversaw efforts to change the
Awards Dinner format, publish a second volume of Medicine Avenue, and establish educational resources for the next generation of industry professionals.
Scott’s charitable efforts were devoted to developing the future of healthcare industry talent. He founded the FJC Health Marketing Scholarship Foundation, the only 501(c)(3) charitable organization within a healthcare agency providing scholarships to students pursuing a career in healthcare advertising. Scott also founded KidConnect, a unique eight-week intensive program with primary school students to raise awareness about healthcare advertising as a career while educating students about the importance of healthy habits.
After concluding his career in healthcare communications, Scott has continued investing in the future of our industry as an advisor to business leaders, angel investor to early-stage healthcare companies, and mentor to entrepreneurs that desire to bring innovative products and services to market.
The Ultimate Publishing Professional
Charles Daly, known to most as “Charlie,” was one of the most successful publishing executives the business has known. During his career, he helped build Medical Economics in to a major publishing force through his adherence to the highest publishing principles, his innate leadership skills, and his respect for people.
Charlie started at Medical Economics, then a family-owned medical publishing business, in 1962 as an ad space salesman. In 1965, seeing little opportunity for career growth, he left the publishing business and spent the next two years at the Klemtner and Robert A. Becker advertising agencies. He was hired back by ME owner Bill Chapman as publication manager to salvage the money-losing publication RN. Within a year, Charlie had turned the publication around, from losses of $100,000 to profits of $100,000, and changed the format from digest-size into a full-size publication.
In 1968, Chapman sold the business to Litton Industries. In the ensuing years, Charlie was promoted to publisher of Medical Economics magazine. Charlie rose rapidly, from publisher to executive vice president. Upon Chapman’s retirement in 1973, he became CEO of Medical Economics. Throughout the early 1970s, he added new publications to the ME stable, such as Hospital Physician, PDR, Drug Topics, and The Red Book. During these years, and well into the 1990’s, he succeeded in making Medical Economics the number one medical publication. While this took place under his management, he was always the first to share the credit with his team.
From 1975 through 1981, Charlie was CEO of Litton Publications, which had acquired ownership of ME. In this role, he oversaw numerous healthcare publications; elementary, high school, and college text books; and trade books. Numerous new books were added, and ME was at the cutting edge of the computer age, mechanizing the delivery of PDR directly to doctors. ME also ventured into the consumer business, with Home publication, Next magazine, and more.
In 1981, when Thomson Business Information bought Litton Publications, Charlie became chairman of Medical Economics, Inc., Thomson charged him with realizing even more growth. In the ensuing 10 years, the book companies were sold, and Charlie was primarily involved in acquisitions and product development, acquiring a number of veterinary magazines, healthcare newsletters, dental magazines, and Patient Care.
As Medical Economics grew from a family-owned business to a major presence in the medical publishing field, Charlie was the guiding force. He brought the spirit of the family-owned business forward though his management style and his treatment of valued clients, developed through experience and mentors such as Bill Chapman and Harry Towe. He didn’t put too much stock in formulas, matrixes, and methodologies. It was about people. “Who’s reading the magazine? What do they want to read? What information is valuable?” He demanded editorial research that provided those answers.
With Charlie, the integrity of the publication and editorial always came first. Carroll Dowden relates a story that is indicative of the ethics Charlie brought to the job: A major pharmaceutical company, ME’s largest advertiser at the time, demanded that its ads run in the first quarter of the book, saying its research showed more exposure there. Charlie responded that the magazine’s policy was to rotate all advertisers – large and small – through quarters of the book, out of fairness. The advertiser insisted ME meet the demand or it would drop all advertising. Charlie said, “Sorry to lose you, but we can’t compromise on the principle of treating all advertisers alike.” The company pulled out, costing the magazine several million dollars of advertising. The company eventually returned, on Charlie’s terms. In the meantime, Medical Economics enjoyed record revenue, even without its largest advertiser.
While he led ME to great success, Charlie Daly was all about ethics and people. He was the consummate people person; a great listener, clear communicator, a man with a sense of humor and humility. No one was below Charlie or unworthy of his time and attention. He greeted and treated everyone, from the mail clerk to the secretary to the top executives, with respect, attempting to make everyone feel they had a voice.
Today, those he mentored continue to adhere to the standards he set, both for success, and behavior.
Leaders in medical advertising are always multitalented individuals. You cannot head up organizations of the scope of ad agencies and not have some capacity for all the ingredients of the job—creativity, marketing, research, organization, finance, recruitment, and, the intangible, leadership. Members of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame have been outstanding in certain of the disciplines of our business—copy, design, entrepreneurial judgment, etc—but they have always possessed instincts for the other pieces of the equation that produce a successful medical advertising organization. Even given this generalization, the mix of proficiencies evident in Clyde P. Davis’ career puts him in a special place among MAHF members. Davis is a fascinating combination of what appear to be diverse talents.
Davis got his start when a teacher recognized his ability and pushed him out of his South Side Chicago environment into an art program at the University of Illinois. He had to work his way through college, doing everything from washing dishes to painting houses. Once in the commercial world, he entered pharmaceutical advertising through the training grounds of McAdams, Sudler & Hennessey, and L.W. Frohlich, before moving to Klemtner Advertising. There, and at Cline Davis & Mann, he worked on Pfizer products, winning recognition for his work within the industry and at creativity competitions. He won a Clio for the first Rx ad ever honored.
The following work established Davis as a creator with a strong feel for graphic imagery and also a flare for striking sales force materials:
- Terramycin — “Experienced Traveler” photo series on patients around the world.
- Spectrobid — peaking antibiotic blood levels illustrated by silver-plated railroad spikes that representatives dropped off with MDs.
- Vistaril — cardiovascular advantage demonstrated by a glass heart in the grip of a vise.
- Vibramycin — full body x-rays on the “tissue is the issue” theme.
- Glucotrol — visualizing “spilled sugar” in journal inserts and promotion.
Against this art director competence, it’s interesting that Davis has also acted as CDM’s financial executive—an unlikely role for someone from the creative side of the business. Says Morgan Cline, his long-term partner, “At CDM, he quickly assumed the role of chief financial officer. That was one of his major, major interests. Finance was a secret, long held love of his and he jumped to the helm of the financial effort of the agency and ran it wonderfully.”
Jack Slonaker, chairman and COO at CDM, tells of Davis’ financial skill in finalizing a commitment to new office space: “He would not sign. He was waiting, waiting. And while he was waiting they were throwing more things in to sweeten the pot. He was a great negotiator and always made things happen on his terms.”
Carol DiSanto, a CDM partner and director of client services, remarks on the apparent paradox: “How can such an unbelievable creative person be so in tune with the bottom line in finance, stocks, and investments? The guy’s a master.”
Davis displayed traits common to agency leaders. He expected excellence.
“His standards are high,” says Cline, “and he had a short attention span for people who did not come forward quickly with what he liked. He would demand a lot [but] Clyde was never willing to ask anything of anyone that he wouldn’t do himself.”
On Davis’ expectations, Ralph Skorge, a CDM partner and creative director for art, adds, “A tough guy to work for. But it makes you better. I learned a lot. He wasn’t generous with praise. But when you got it, you were hooked. It was an addicting drug to have him say ‘That’s good.’ This guy recognized great work and when you did it. He praised you, and you knew it.”
Davis also showed leadership in advocating new technology for CDM and in being aggressive in competing with consumer agencies for DTC business. Ed Wise, the agency’s president and CEO, describes him as “something of a visionary.”
“His creativity was expressed in a lot of ways, but one of them was in expanding the business in new directions in terms of DTC, the computer, advancing computer abilities, in film and video,” explains Wise. “He was always looking for trends and trying to put the agency on the cutting edge.”
Cline seconds this view of Davis: “He wanted us to assume new abilities, new roles. We bought all the equipment to edit our own films when we started doing DTC. He was the one who made this enormous investment in computers when people were just still dabbling in them.”
His colleagues describe Davis as an extremely soft spoken. Frank Hughes, an MAHF member who worked with him at Klemtner, says he speaks “pianissimo and so you are leaning in to hear him.” People have trouble remembering when he even raised his voice. In fact, Cline’s opinion is that Davis would lower his voice to attract attention and make his points more emphatic, which proved effective in high-decibel meetings.
Davis is a complex meld of a drive for success, creativity, business acumen, low-key reserve with an underlying aggressiveness, demanding standards, and a commitment to new technology that has all come together. What has made it work? Ed Wise explains, “Clyde was very much driven by the idea of creating something beautiful, creating something that other people would admire, creating something that was great. I think whatever he attacked in his life aggressively and in a disciplined manner [was] something that people would be attracted to and stand back and say that was a contribution. He saw the agency as one of his creative canvasses as much as it was one of his ads.”
Medical advertising leaders have left their imprint by changing how we promote products and express brand messages creatively, as well as by adding media and analytical innovations to pharmaceutical marketing. Some members of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame not only accomplished great things, but also had a strong personal influence on those who worked with them. Their philosophy and style in handling the work and managing their people shaped attitudes within their agencies. They are remembered as much for their ideas as for how they dealt with the confounding failures and heartening successes that come with Rx advertising. Sylvio (Sal) deRouin was such a person.
Sal was a creative director at Rolf Werner Rosenthal (RWR) who produced advertising that changed MDs’ prescribing habits. At the same time, he was the kind of person who changed the way those he touched—especially young people—looked at themselves, their work, and their lives. The example he set is still being felt in the careers of creative directors and agency executives in the business today.
For instance, Jed Beitler, chairman and CEO Worldwide at Sudler & Hennessey, has this to say about deRouin: “To me, Sal was not just a business mentor. I learned a lot from Sal…about how to view the world, not necessarily in agreement with him, [but] a strong perspective on the world and his views on the business world, as well. He was one of the first people to get me to appreciate the need for finding the core and running with it.”
Brendan Ward, creative partner at Regan Campbell Ward, on deRouin’s influence: “The most important thing I learned from Sal was how to stay relaxed. Advertising is a terrible business…deadlines and unexpected client miseries and you’re really not the master of your fate. I learned from Sal that if you’re relaxed, you could actually do it. You can actually get through this thing.”
And finally, from Marjorie Vincent, creative director, Harrison and Star: “Sal was very comfortable in his own skin. Sal was always himself. He didn’t put on acts for clients. He told them what he thought about the creative product and about his creative vision…and they listened to Sal. He spoke to them in very plain language and he didn’t put on airs.”
From the aristocratic sound of his name, the time he had spent at an ad agency in Paris, and his stint as the designer of a Palm Springs, California magazine, one might have expected Sylvio deRouin to be in the aesthete school of creative directors. But his style was defined by his nickname.
Says Philip Brady, co-chairman of CommonHealth, “I don’t think I’ve called him Sylvio more than 3 times in my life. He was Sal! There are certain individuals and that’s who they are. He’s a nuts and bolts guy. A down to earth, honest person who tells it like it is. I mean, the name was made for Sal. Sal is Sal!”
Vincent adds this about his personality: “He was very irreverent. Sal loved to have fun. And there was a lot of bawdiness. Those were the days before one had to be too worried about being politically sensitive or politically correct. We played football in the halls. We tackled each other. We told dirty jokes. There was a lot of laughing…a lot of irreverence. And we had a lot of fun.”
Office high jinks also included a miniature golf course to create the “relaxed” atmosphere deRouin believed in.
Rolf Rosenthal opened RWR in 1970 with deRouin, Charles Riegle, and Ron Souza as partners. If Rosenthal was the intellectual leader, then deRouin was the creative heart. The agency built on its first client, Burroughs Wellcome, to grow rapidly with such top-flight accounts as Lederle, Marion, Boehringer Ingelheim, Schering, American Home, and Squibb. RWR became a major competitor among medical agencies and its pace of new business was remarkable. RWR campaigns under deRouin’s direction launched such important products as the HIV drug Retrovir, the interferon Intron-A, the anti-infectives Zovirax, Pipracil, and Septra, and the anti-anginal Cardizem.
The product icon that deRouin created for Cardizem demonstrated his practical approach to brand imagery. Communicative effectiveness was deRouin’s goal, and graphic artistry was secondary to making the product’s message clear and memorable. The symbol for Cardizem that he proposed to Marion was a construction worker’s hardhat as an emblem of the product’s message of safety.
Brady recalls the client presentation: “Sal found a true positioning to set Cardizem apart in the yellow safety hat with the words ‘Safety First’ emblazoned on it. When we presented it to the people at Marion, you could have heard a pin drop. It wasn’t because they loved it. It was because they felt that a safety hat was a blue collar image that they didn’t want associated with their premier product, Cardizem. But Sal and others convinced them it was the right way to go, and it was successful. It became part of Cardizem for the life cycle of the brand…and that was magic. That’s what agencies strive for. Sal had the ability, more than most, of finding that magic in a brand.”
In the nomination for Sal deRouin submitted to the MAHF, a number of industry executives contributed recommendations for his election. As evidence of deRouin’s influence on the leadership of the industry, these included (in addition to those quoted above): Thomas Harrison, chairman and CEO, Diversified Agency Services, Omnicom; Susan Roessner, formerly an associate creative director at RWR; Rolf Werner Rosenthal; and Larry Star, CEO, Harrison and Star.
Looking back on working with deRouin, Star wrote: “With Sal, what you saw was what you got—genuine style. Sal valued talent of all kinds. He got jazzed up by wood turners and wordsmiths, photographers and fashion designers, chefs and cinematographers. He would seek out young staffers to find out what was hot, what was wow, what was today. He would store it up like a rechargeable battery, waiting for the right time to discharge the juice. His work was unmistakable. Sal’s design had graphic power and vocal range that moved from the tranquil symmetry of a Japanese rock garden to the steroid intensity of a Captain America comic.”
Sal deRouin retired in 1990 and now lives with his wife, Lenahan, in Charleston, South Carolina.
Combing Creative and Management Talent
Agency CEOs are typically seen as hard-charging individuals who honed their skills in the account management arena. All the more reason that Tom Domanico stands out, with his background on the creative side and his modest, soft-spoken manner. He’s an award-winning art and creative director with a discerning eye and a consistently fresh approach to innovative brand building.
A skilled executive who helped drive the growth of one of the healthcare communications industry’s largest global agencies. A fierce competitor and trusted colleague who contributed richly to the healthcare communications and biomed industries by giving freely of his time and talents to further industry interests.
In 1966, future Medical Hall of Famer, Bob Buechert hired Tom as an assistant art director at Klemtner Advertising. Tom quickly advanced to art director on the Pfizer account where he built his reputation by his original work on industry leading antibiotics Terramycin and Vibramycin, specialty anti-infective Urobiotic, diuretic Renese, and anti-diabetic Diabinese.
In 1969, Harry Sweeney, another future Hall of Famer, and AD Jim Horne hired Tom as a Senior Art Director at Shaller-Rubin, where he worked on both Rx and OTC products from E.R. Squibb, Endo Laboratories (Percodan), Smith Kline & French (as SKF’s first external Rx shop), Eaton Laboratories (Chloraseptic) and Fleet enema brands. Within two years, agency principal, Mel Rubin (yet another future Hall of Famer), promoted Tom to head the agency healthcare division.
By 1973, Tom was recruited to join the William Douglas McAdams agency, at the time the largest medical agency in the country. His career flourished over the next ten years as he became a lead creative director on the Roche Laboratories account and was promoted to Executive Art Director and Senior Vice President overseeing all products. His role also involved the launch of new products, such as the complex anti-acne medication, Acutane, and Larocin. During these years, Tom also oversaw the production arm of McAdams as the Vice President of Medigraphics.
In 1983, Tom was recruited by another future Hall of Famer, Lester Barnett, to head a new Vicom office in New York City. This career move reunited Tom with Bob Buechert and lasted 27 years. The New York office of Vicom Associates was a small branch of a San Francisco agency with a staff of only six people when Tom joined. Under his leadership, the shop grew from six to nearly 600 employees with annualized billings of more than three-quarters of a billion dollars! Vicom was acquired by Foote Cone and Belding which, in turn, became Draft/FCB. Tom’s responsibilities were expanded from Senior Vice President, Creative Director to General Manager to President and, finally, to Chairman/CEO of Draft/FCB Healthcare.
The culture of the agency today is a reflection of Tom’s spirit – his intelligence, enthusiasm, dedicated work habits and his always present congeniality. Clients liked Tom working for them; employees liked working for Tom; and his competitors both respected his work and enjoyed his company.
Proof of Tom’s special talent and contributions can be found in the many plaudits that Vicom and Draft/FCB have received from the creative community, including the Aesculapius and Triangle awards, numerous CLIOs, inclusion on Medical Marketing & Media’s All Star list in 2007, and the naming of Draft/FCB as Agency of the Year by Med Ad News not once, but twice during Tom’s tenure, in 2005 and again in 2009.
From his earliest days in the business, Tom engaged in activities to inform and promote the importance of creative innovation in the medical marketing field. He has mentored and taught individuals, lectured and served on various organization and association committees and public panels, and displayed a wide-ranging understanding of the importance of communications to the furtherance of good health.
Tom has served on the judge’s panel for the Doctors Choice Awards and the CLIO Healthcare Awards, chaired the Global Awards, and has served on the Executive Board of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame for many years, including his service as Chairman. He also participated in activities for the PAC/HMC organization, the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, and the Coalition for Healthcare Communications.
Always willing to give credit to others, always a team player, one of Tom’s greatest pleasures, and accomplishments, has been sharing his talents and experience to help other people grow theirs.
Tom is a classic New Yorker – born in Brooklyn, grew up in Queens, studied art and advertising at New York Community College, and worked his entire career in Manhattan. He is the father of two grown daughters, Gina and Christa and lives with his wife, Maritza in Greenwich, Connecticut.
When you heard John Dorritie’s hearty laugh from across the room, you turned to hear who was having such a good time. And there would be John in a circle enjoying a joke or just having delivered the punch line himself. He was a joyful optimist and his zest for life extended into his business career and contributed to his success.
John’s path to medical advertising began with a degree in chemistry from Iona College. After graduation in 1955, he spent 2 years in the army serving in military intelligence. He then joined Sandoz as a sales representative, moving up in the company through the market research department to become an assistant advertising manager. In 1965, he took a job as an assistant account executive at Sudler & Hennessey. In only 3 years, he had become a vice president, account supervisor.
S&H in the late 1960s had a deep, talented creative and management staff. Dorritie may have felt the ladder to the top of the agency was too crowded, but more likely he decided to go out on his own because he had an idea that appealed to his entrepreneurial goals. He founded Stat Kit Inc.—a company which assembled and distributed emergency medical kits to physicians. For the next 3 years, Dorritie sought sponsors and products for Stat Kit among healthcare companies, energetically promoting it to industry executives and developing relationships that would be valuable to him in the future.
In 1971, Dorritie, seeing the limits of the venture, rejoined S&H and began working on the Pfizer account, supervising such important products as Sinequan and Minipress. His responsibilities at the agency expanded and, by 1979, he had become executive vice president.
In that year, S&H was confronted with a recurring agency dilemma—product conflict. At issue was business from two antihypertensives. The choice S&H management made suddenly put the Pfizer account “in play.” Dorritie with Mike Lyons, one of the agency’s top creative directors, saw an opportunity to fulfill every ad man’s dream—opening an agency. They successfully pursued Pfizer and founded Dorritie & Lyons with it as their first account.
It was an ideal time to be working for Pfizer. The company’s pipeline was rich with important products and D&L was center stage for such breakthrough brands as the calcium antagonist Procardia, the second generation nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug Feldene, and the antibiotic Cefobid. The agency prospered, adding to its credits over the years of Dorritie’s leadership the launches of Genentech’s Activase and Protropin and Wyeth-Ayerst’s Suprax.
Dorritie will be remembered for his knowledge of pharmaceutical marketing, his ability to mobilize promotional techniques to make a product a success, and his effective salesmanship in representing his agency’s programs—all qualities he had in common with other agency leaders. He is best remembered for the kind of man he was: big hearted, tolerant, and gregarious. He created an atmosphere that brought out the best in those around him. He was willing to talk and listen to everyone, and by taking the time, he conveyed to you a sense of the value of your ideas and your importance to him.
John died in 1991 of a sudden heart attack at 57. His death was a tragic loss to his family, friends, and all of us in medical advertising.
Setting Standards for Publishing Performance
Carroll Dowden’s 47-year career in medical communications consistently demonstrated excellence, as an editor, a corporate manager, and an entrepreneur. His record of success in building and maintaining readership for medical journals is unparalleled, both at the Medical Economics Company and at Dowden Health Media. In addition to his professional performance, throughout his career, he has been recognized as a true Kentucky gentleman with solid ties to family and community.
After graduating from Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Carroll attended the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. While earning his Master’s Degree, he was class president and at the top of his class academically. He earned a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship and chose to tour Europe, writing articles for his then employers, the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Carroll entered the medical publishing field in 1963, when he was hired as a writer-editor at Medical Economics magazine by Lew Miller. He established a reputation as an editor who would settle for nothing short of excellence, and soon assumed broader responsibilities. Carroll shaped a business strategy for Medical Economics that proved highly successful, converting many specialist readers to paid circulation and sharing the subsequent savings with advertisers through rate reductions. This strategy led to a significant increase in advertising, and, for many years, Medical Economics carried more ad pages than any other trade or professional magazine in the US.
Carroll applied similar innovative thinking to the expansion of Physicians Desk Reference, by promoting sales of the annual reference to non-physicians. As a result, distribution increased to 800,000 copies per year, with half paid by individuals and half by pharmaceutical company listings.
Carroll rose to be president of the Medical Economics Company in 1977. In addition to his successes with Medical Economics and PDR, he also grew the company to a predominant industry position through the careful acquisition of other journals. When International Thomson Business Press purchased the Medical Economics Company in 1981, Carroll was named president. He was CEO of a group of more than 1000 employees in 10 subsidiaries across the country.
After leaving Medical Economics, Carroll became group vice president of Cahners Publishing Company in New York, overseeing four groups of magazines, including those in health care.
Carroll’s final career step came in 1988, when, with his son Mark and Lew Miller, he founded what became Dowden Health Media, publishers of OBG Management, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the Journal of Family Practice, Current Psychiatry and Contemporary Surgery. To these journals, he added a medical education division and a consumer health newsletter division, reaching consumers in more than 100 hospitals in the US.
Dowden Health Media presented a variety of challenges that Carroll countered with innovations. When the Mayo Clinic asked Carroll to consult on the business plan for what was a money-losing journal, he responded with a plan focusing tightly on internists and coupling Mayo Clinic Proceedings with The Journal of Family Practice to offer advertisers what he called “The Perfect Pair”. His ideas led the Mayo publishers to ask him to participate in a joint venture which was profitable to both parties. Under his leadership and direction the company grew and became a significant force in the medical communications field.
Dowden Health Media was sold to Lebhar-Friedman in 2005 and Carroll remained as president and then chairman until he retired in 2010.
While retired from the medical arena, Carroll has continued his work in publishing by founding Wainscot Media, which has grown to almost two dozen regional consumer magazines.
In addition to his business career, Carroll has been active in many local and national organizations. He has been on the board of MAHF, and is past chairman of American Business Media, where he also chaired the Editorial Committee, the Neal Awards Committee, the Washington/Legal Committee and the Health Care Publishers Committee. He also served as director and vice president of BPA International.
In his community, Carroll has been a trustee and vice president of Pascack Valley Hospital, is current president of the Saddle River Valley Club and a member of the Saddle River Zoning Board of Adjustment.
Carroll Dowden has made substantial contributions not only to the development of the medical communications field, but also to the development of the career paths of many editors, ad salesmen and publishing executives with whom he has worked. Many have had their lives enriched by his inspiring leader.
Today, Carroll lives in Saddle River, NJ, with his wife Eleanor. His three talented children, Mark, Laura, and Amy, work with him at Wainscot Media.
Few people have served the healthcare communication industry as unselfishly as Jim Dougherty. Over the past 30 years he has served in and/or contributed to virtually every organization in the industry, devoting his time and effort unstintingly. His hand is always first in the air when support and leadership are requested.
Jim’s entry into the business was a family affair as his older sister was Peg Dougherty, formerly Media Director at Lavey, Wolff & Swift and a founder of the HBA. She convinced him that pharmaceutical advertising sales was a good fit with his talents.
Jim entered the business as an advertising sales representative for the venerable dermatology journal, Cutis. He moved to Postgraduate Medicine at McGraw-Hill in 1980, and soon became a fixture in the medical publishing industry.
Wanting to become active in industry affairs, Jim became program chairman for the Pharmaceutical Advertising Council (PAC, now the HMCA). As program chairman he was intimately involved in providing educational services for all in our industry. Eventually Jim was named to the Board of Directors of the PAC and, in 1990, he became its youngest President.
One of Jim’s major contributions to our industry was his leadership in the founding of the Coalition for Healthcare Communication. Working with Jane Townsend and Ken Berkowitz, Jim helped put together resources from several branches of the industry to address a very aggressive FDA headed at the time by Commissioner David Kessler. The purpose of the organization was to support and defend the free flow of information about healthcare products. Thanks in no small part to Jim’s unstinting efforts, The Coalition was successful in its campaign to protect the free flow of information. Jim’s support in the birth and development of The Coalition was a significant factor in its success, allowing it to continue its good work today.
In 1989, Jim joined and took an active role within the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PMA – later renamed PhRMA). He was an active speaker for the PMA concerning marketing and legal issues, and also had popular role in organizing social activities at the annual meeting. Jim was one of the first associate members to serve on the PMA board of directors. One of his major accomplishments, working with Harry Sweeney and Al Nickel, was the creation of an advertising program informing doctors about the PMA Patient Assistance Programs. Jim reached out to the Association of Medical Publications (AMP) to donate advertising space in support of the program, and was a major factor in its success in providing assistance to needy patients.
In large part as a result of his work on the PMA Patient Assistance Program, Jim was named President of yet another industry organization, the Association of Medical Publishers (AMP, now the Association of Medical Media). He continued his good work on behalf of the publishing industry, helping to create and communicate information on the role and importance of medical publications and medical advertising in distributing drug information to physicians. Under his leadership, studies were commissioned to quantify the value of medical publications in communication information to healthcare professionals, and promotional campaigns created to convey the information to the industry.
Jim was an early member of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame Executive Committee. His solid and extensive support was crucial in the success of the organization, assisting with organization and seat sales for the annual Awards Dinner, and contributing numerous concepts and ideas for the growth and advancement of the organization, including hosting tables at the Awards Dinner to introduce people to the event and the organization.
For more than three decades whenever the industry has needed support, Jim Dougherty has always been first in line. We cannot think of a more deserving, unselfish, self-effacing professional.
When Mark Dresden completed his MBA thesis at Wharton business school in Philadelphia in the late 1950s, he started a process that would eventually revolutionize the buying of advertising space in the pharmaceutical industry. Dresden’s subject had been the use of direct mail to investigate physician attitudes and practices. He proved that mail surveys could accurately document physician behavior.
Not surprisingly, he went on to a job with Lee Ramsdell—a Philadelphia advertising agency with prescription drug accounts. There, such expertise was appreciated. At the agency, Dresden came in contact with the subjective manner in which medical journal space was purchased. There were no objective audits of journal readership and millions of dollars were being spent on the medium based essentially on judgment and instinct. Having just left an intellectually rigorous academic background, Dresden saw the deficiencies in the system, but rather than become a sideline critic he took a bold, entrepreneurial step, founding a company to provide the objective standards that were lacking. He conducted mail surveys and in 1963 launched Media-Chek—the first objective, independent journal audit. To describe the response to his findings as “controversial” would be an understatement.
Marshall Paul recalls the scene at a meeting of publishers when Dresden reported Media-Chek findings for the first time: “As he was presenting his data, you could hear mumblings going on in the crowd…and then it started to gather steam and all of a sudden there was a kind of uproar. Mark was presenting information that showed that half of the journals were not doing very well. Immediately, he annoyed half the audience…which realized that their publications might be in jeopardy. Then you had the upper half, but they were not pleased as to their rankings. Just about everybody was upset!”
To understand this reaction you have to appreciate the way advertising schedules were drawn up in those days. Lou Miller describes the method: “In the early 1960s, journal advertising was bought on three factors: reputation, circulation, and entertainment.”
Dresden’s data challenged the official journals of medical organizations that sold on reputation. He took on publications that had added nonrelevant audiences to lower their CPM. And most importantly, he took on the fraternity of “space men” who through the force of their salesmanship, personality, and the relationships they had with decision-makers (often gained through extensive entertaining) were the dominant factor in the competition for journal spending. Dresden’s numbers changed everything and the losers in his surveys did not go quietly. Dresden came in for volumes of pointed criticism. Sam Davis, who was his partner, remembers how Dresden handled it: “Every one of the [readership surveys] met with criticism. It was to folks’ advantage to tear them down, to make sure they didn’t succeed. Mark had the ability to ignore that, to stand by it and keep going. He always prided himself on being a little hard of hearing, not physically, but he always said, ‘You have to keep going.'”
Faith that you were right and an innate “tenaciousness,” which Davis also attributes to Dresden, were needed to overcome the entrenched habits of the industry and the personal relationships which had been built up among agencies, publications, and manufacturers in the free-spending, post-WWII boom period.
Media-Chek answered its critics with rational arguments and improved methodology and became basic to the purchase of journal advertising. Dresden sold the company to Fisher-Stevens in 1978. He continued in media research with the Dresden Davis company, which launched another innovative data service, Scriptrac, which provided companies with information for field force coverage on physician prescribing patterns by name and address. Dresden, in turn, sold that company to PCS in 1983 and retired from the business.
Dresden can be credited with starting the research-oriented approach to purchasing medical journal space. He was joined by others—notably Gus Fink, the founder of Patient Care, who expanded on what he had done to establish media buying as an analytical discipline and not a clerical function. Dresden initiated, or made a major contribution to, such practices as verifying receipt of publications, obtaining feedback on physician readership, demonstrating page exposure through the use of check studies (the “perfect coupon”), tracking exposure by location in the journal, and measuring exposure in successive issues. His innovations led to the development of reach and frequency models, and the ability of media buyers to use the computer to determine the efficiency of a journal schedule.
Marshall Paul sums up Dresden’s importance: “The contribution that Mark made to the industry, more than anything else, was making journal advertising a legitimate approach to communicating a message. He provided an understanding and an ability to advertisers to be able to deliver a verifiable message in journals.”
Mark Dresden lives in retirement in Pennsylvania near Philadelphia where he is active with volunteer organizations and also keeps busy with his two major hobbies: organ music (he’s installed a pipe organ in his home) and raising poodles.
Tom Ferguson is an exception among agency founders. Not only has the size of his organization—one of the world’s largest medical agencies—set him apart, but he also came to the task of building an agency from a different perspective than his peers. The impetus behind most agencies is often a powerful creative ability, an insightful marketing sense, or a capacity for research and analysis. Ferguson would be the first to disallow any heavy expertise in these agency disciplines. Of course, Ferguson is knowledgeable about Rx advertising, but he has said many time in explaining his success: “I’m just a dumb guy who knows how to hire smart people.”
Hiring the right, smart people is no small talent, and Ferguson’s organization is built on more than skillful recruitment. The key ingredient for Ferguson has been “people.” His considerable achievement rests on his remarkable interpersonal skills—the one-on-one relationships he has created with clients on all levels and his employees.
His beginnings in healthcare were with Becton-Dickinson, the diagnostic and medical devices manufacturer. From B-D, he moved to the Frohlich ad agency, working on the Parke-Davis account as an account executive. Then, just before Frohlich closed its doors with the death of its leader, he joined Sudler & Hennessey in 1971. At that time, S&H was a training ground for young ad agency entrepreneurs. He was one of a group of individuals who left the agency in the early 1970s to set up their own agencies. He opened Thomas Ferguson Associates in 1974.
Success was not immediate. In fact, the agency struggled to survive. Ferguson’s determination to make his mark, however, was not to be denied. For example, long-term employees tell of his ability for ingenious improvisation in presenting his “organization” to prospective clients. His offices were not fully furnished, so Tom, with the help of his wife and staff, would move the dining room table from his home to the office to become a conference table for presentations.
Says, Susan DiDonato, senior vice president, human resources at CommonHealth, “Yes, that really did happen…moving the dining room table from Hunterdon County to the office in Morristown. And then, there were the times when clients would come in and doors would be closed with names on them. We didn’t have any people at that point. He made it look like a big organization. People want to attach themselves to that.”
In these early years, Ferguson was perfecting his style of projecting an aura of success. Hi ring outstanding people was a crucial part of his approach. Additionally, and just as importantly, was Ferguson’s ability to create a positive work environment with an ethic of teamwork that generated productive programs for his clients. Successful campaigns drew attention to the agency, and business began to come in. Helping things was Tom’s decision to locate in New Jersey, right on the pharmaceutical industry’s home ground. For a “people person” like Ferguson, this ready access to clients was important.
Also, he was not shy in promoting the agency. Even when money was tight, he invested in advertising on the agency. In his first ad, he announced that “We have the horses,” even while he was looking for the kind of people he wanted in his organization.
Who he hired was vital to Ferguson. Experience and talent were prerequisites, but intangibles were also in the picture. Says Matt Giegerich, president and CEO of CommonHealth, “It was important to him that he was not hiring gunslingers who were purely about business and left the means to the end outside of the door. The nature of how they conducted business, life outside the office, family life, charitable pursuits, you name it…Tom was interested in all these qualities in people he brought on board.”
In seeking these characteristics in others, Ferguson was reflecting his own values. And in discussing Tom’s secret to success, those who know him best cite his passion for the business, coupled with his compassion for everyone he came in contact with.
To the agency’s advantage, Ferguson’s capacity for relationships led to strong ties with clients. Tom was very good with top management and was known for making business calls by himself at the highest level to see how the account was being handled and then acting to correct any problems. In addition, he would spend time to good advantage at the lower levels at the client, discussing the agency assignment with product managers and marketing services, and even the traffic people.
Often his meetings with company executives took place on the golf course, in the atmosphere of friendship and congeniality that Ferguson created. Consistent with his sociability, he loved to entertain. It was not unusual at the height of his career for him and his wife Roberta to be at business dinners more often than dining at home. For some in advertising, socializing is a burden, but Tom was in his element with this side of the business; and, because he enjoyed it, everyone had a good time and he was able to establish closer client relationships that helped him gain and hold accounts.
Describing Ferguson’s access at clients, Phil Brady, a long-time associate, explains, “Tom opened the door. And then he brought others in to accomplish what needed to be done.”
John Zweig, who worked with Ferguson for many years, adds this to his portrait: “Charismatic…wildly determined to succeed…intuitive…willing to take risks…really an amazing combination of, I would say, a self-fulfilling prophecy. He wants it to be true and then it becomes true.”
What is “true” for Thomas G. Ferguson is the multi-layered organization of CommonHealth—a company with capitalized billings in 2001 of $1.8 billion, more than 1,500 employees, with 16 operating units in this country and overseas, serving dozens of pharmaceutical manufacturers including AstraZeneca, Bayer, Ortho Biotech, Ortho-McNeil, Schering, and Warner Lambert. What a testament to his personality and determination!
Members of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame have left their imprints on medical advertising as founders of advertising agencies, innovators of new marketing approaches, and as creators of memorable advertising. August “Gus” Fink brought 2 important ideas to the business that were not agency-oriented, but related to the principal media for reaching physicians—medical journals.
Both ideas are so fundamental to journal publishing that it is hard to imagine the field without them. First, Fink was a leader in journal readership research. Secondly, he was one of the creators of a new kind of medical journal that brought practitioner-based information to physicians. Both ideas came out of Fink’s background in psychological research.
Fink obtained a PhD at Columbia University, where he studied under the famous B.F. Skinner. His academic studies at Columbia included behavioral research on animals. (During his career in medical marketing, Fink would often jokingly refer to himself as a “rat psychologist.”) Most importantly, he approached medical marketing from the high standard established in an academic setting, where proof based on the collection of credible data was required before making judgments. He was working at Klemtner Advertising when his thinking on readership research of medical journals attracted interest at Medical Economics (ME) and he was hired as its research director. At ME, he put into practice techniques to study advertising readership in medical journals that Alfred Politz had used in consumer print media.
The first of Fink’s research techniques was to write MDs’ names on ads in medical journals and then, in follow-up calls to assess MDs’ familiarity with those issues of the publications, to see how many had noticed their names on ads. Through this approach, the “ad page exposure” in publications could be determined. This direction was taken further by Fink and others, using what came to be called the “perfect coupon.”
With this approach, instead of MDs’ names, checks made out to the doctors for $10.00 were bound into issues of publications. From the rate of redemption of the checks, even better readings on ad page exposure were gained. A refinement on this approach was to place a short questionnaire on the back of the check to verify that the MDs, and not their nurses or family members, had found the check.
The “perfect coupon” brought major changes to the use of medical journals in pharmaceutical advertising. It lead to comparative ad exposure studies among publications, appreciation of the placement of ads, front and back, in journals, and, eventually, use of computer analysis to determine the efficiency of spending levels in journal advertising and the best mix of publications for a campaign. Gus Fink’s initiation and advocacy of “perfect coupon” research—the production of hard, ad exposure data—was the moving force behind truly revolutionary changes in selling of medical journal space and in medical publishing.
Gus Fink and Lew Miller met at ME in 1960—Fink as research director and Miller as executive editor. They became close friends and over the next few years considered going into business together. At that time, pharmaceutical advertising was funneling sizable sums through a limited number of medical journals. There was a market for new publications, and given Fink and Miller’s experience with journals, it was logical that they think about creating a new one. In 1966, they launched Patient Care (PC), which departed in editorial content from the conventional journals. Most journals then were devoted to original studies authored by researchers to report on scientific findings. The practice of medicine resulted from an assimilation of these research findings as taught at medical schools, teaching hospitals, and medical education programs. No journal was written to help general practitioners deal with the every-day treatment problems they saw in their waiting rooms. This became the mission of Patient Care, and in keeping with Fink’s research background, it based its editorial, circulation, and advertising sales on investigations of how MDs treated patients and how manufacturers marketed pharmaceuticals.
The publication’s content was markedly innovative. Its editorial board was not made up of noted names in research, but practicing MDs who often were PC readers. In covering a treatment problem, PC would convene a roundtable of specialists and generalists and report on their discussions pro and con as to therapy. Its text was colloquial, not academic, and, to help busy MDs get what they wanted to know quickly, it was interspersed every 700 words with 50-word summaries (“Express Stops”) in bold text. Treatment plans were diagramed with algorithms—flow charts on lab tests, diagnostic signs, etc, to guide practitioners. Topics for articles were researched in advances and issues were studied in the field after publication to test their success with readers.
PC’s circulation was also a departure from the norm. Rather than cover a broad MD audience of all practicing physicians—approaching 200,000—as was done by “mass circulation” journals like JAMA, Medical Economics, and Modern Medicine, PC concentrated on the GP, FP, Internist, and DO audiences, totaling some 100,000—the generalists of medicine. Significantly, although this audience consisted of roughly 50% of physicians, it accounted for 65%-70% of the prescriptions written.
The efficiency of this coverage came to be appreciated by pharmaceutical marketers. Patient Care started slowly. It ran 441 ad pages in 1967. Lew Miller recalls, “Today, patient care is a well accepted term that doctors are supposed to render. But back in the ’60s, when we told people that we were starting a journal called Patient Care, the reaction was that it must be for nurses.” Fink ran check studies every quarter in PC documenting to advertisers that the publication was delivering on its promise of gaining an audience of high prescribers. In 1970, PC carried 1,699 ad pages and was recognized as a breakthrough idea. Its success created the “mini-mass” class of medical journals.
In the midst of his career as a highly respected researcher and a recognized creative thinker on medical practice and pharmaceutical marketing, Fink suddenly suffered a fatal heart attack in 1985. His loss was mourned by the industry and by his friends who remember him as a striking, brilliant, down-to-earth, and fun-loving person who brought great analytical ability to medical media coupled with a practical drive that turned insights into tangible action.
An advertising executive’s advancement can be postponed or even completely thwarted by changes in assignments or locations. It is a test of ability and character to be able to move to new companies and new locales and to continue moving up the ladder. John (“Jack”) Fisher has met the test of change, even seeking it out. At every turn, he has risen to the challenge of new circumstances.
He began as a Pfizer representative, working a southern territory out of his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. His hard-working style was recognized, and he moved to headquarters in New York City as a product manager. Next, he switched to the agency side, joining the Frohlich agency as an AE on the Squibb account. When the agency closed on the death of its owner, he went with the group that founded Lavey/Wolf/Swift. He became a key executive at L/W/S and was tapped by management to move to Frank J. Corbett, Inc., a unit of Omnicom’s healthcare network, to take over from Frank Corbett, who was approaching retirement. He was to spend 19 years in this post, making a name for himself in the industry and drastically changing the character and scope of the agency. While heading up Corbett, he also assumed corporate responsibility for Omnicom’s HMC unit—a group of eleven healthcare companies.
It has been a career that has taken Jack from detailing in the rural South, to the demanding home-office environment of a top-flight Rx company, to the pressured marketing and creative work of medical advertising in New York, to the formidable executive task of heading up one of Chicago’s landmark ad agencies, to a position of oversight in a diverse network of medical communications units. For Jack, it has been a life of changing scenes bringing steady personal growth and success.
A quality that has identified him and propelled him in this career is his remarkable energy. Jeff Marsh, who was his client at the Westwood division of Bristol-Myers Squibb, recalls, “In creative sessions with Jack, you could just feel the energy. He can talk at 100 miles an hour. But Jack’s mind always went at 300 miles an hour.”
Others describe his “drive.” Frank Corbett explains, “There are cities in the world that vibrate—Paris, London, New York. Unfortunately, Chicago doesn’t vibrate. It’s a solid city that makes a lot of money…Well, when Jack came to Chicago, it began to vibrate.”
This energy was channeled through Fisher’s personality which, fueled his compelling drive, could take on an aggressive tone at times. This almost prevented him getting his big chance in Chicago. As Frank Corbett tells it, he approached John Swift of L/W/S, who at the time at Omnicom oversaw the Corbett operation, for someone to move to Chicago to replace him when he retired.
“Who is your best man?” Corbett asked.
“Jack Fisher,” Swift replied, “but he wouldn’t fit in Chicago. He’s too aggressive.”
Corbett says, “My reaction to that was simple. I told Swift, ‘We can take the aggression out of him…’. It took many months before Swift stopped giving me evasive answers…He didn’t want to lose his best man! But, he relented. He didn’t want to stand in Jack’s way, and out he came.”
Jack Fisher pairing with Frank Corbett was a contrast in personalities. Corbett, a transplanted New Yorker, had been successful in the Midwest based on his marketing experience and his low-key cultivation of personal relationships. Fisher, a high-pressure Southerner, tempered in the Rx wars of the East Coast, was strong on market strategy and the discipline of integrated media campaigns. Their styles and talents were different but complementary, which strengthened the agency. Most importantly, both men were strongly positive in outlook. They brought an infectious zest to the creating of Rx advertising and marketing that became their common ground.
Once Fisher settled in, the agency’s product and internal operation changed, and its scope expanded beyond its Chicago base. Billing grew dramatically, going from $18 million in 1977 to $65 million by 1987; the advance continued into the 1990s. During his time at the helm, the agency created campaigns for such major products as Augmentin, Xanax, Halcion, Synthroid, Relafen, Axid, Humalin, and Cozaar/Hyzaar.
One of Fisher’s abilities was his capacity to teach the business to junior executives and product managers at the client and at all levels at his agency.
Scott Cotherman, who took over the leadership of Corbett when Jack retired, says, “He had a wonderful knack of not only identifying talent, but developing it to be very, very strong. Corbett became the training ground for healthcare advertising in the Midwest. There are four agency presidents today in Chicago who were mentored by Jack Fisher. I don’t know whether to thank him for that, or punch him in the nose, because the competition is quite fierce.”
After almost 19 years as president/CEO of Corbett , Fisher retired in 2000. When he arrived, the agency had a Midwestern clients base. When he left, the agency resources and experience had expanded and it was serving clients well beyond Chicago. In fact, one of Fisher’s major accomplishments was overcoming the company mergers that caused a migration of its Midwestern Rx clients to the East Coast. Once again, Fisher had shown that he could meet the challenge of change. By dint of his hard work and his recruiting and training, the Corbett agency had raised the level of its performance so that it was able to weather the difficult transitions that come with mergers and even thrive in this unsettled environment.
Fisher is enjoying retirement, bringing to this new stage in his life a characteristic energetic enthusiasm.
Always Ahead of His Time
Peter Frishauf’s career has spanned a wide variety of roles and disciplines—writer, editor, publisher, entrepreneur, and innovator—but he forever changed the face of our industry with his creation of Medscape, which harnessed the emerging power of the Web to create a place where healthcare professionals could find peer-reviewed information and CME materials. While his fertile mind and boundless energy spawned countless innovations and improvements in the field of communications, Medscape had a profound effect on our industry.
The son of an electrical engineer and a physician, Peter’s first career choice was medicine. But as an undergraduate in the tumultuous 1960s, he joined the staff of the New York University student newspaper, Washington Square Journal and switched his major to journalism. As editor, he oversaw the conversion of the weekly student newspaper to a daily, and as a student correspondent for United Press International in 1968 and The New York Times in 1969 and 1970, his coverage of student protests landed him several page-one stories.
In 1972, after graduating from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism as the Nate Haseltine Fellow in Science Writing, Frishauf started his career as a medical writer for a number of national magazines. In 1975, at age 26, Peter and a partner started F&F Publications, Inc., borrowed money, and bought Hospital Physician magazine from the Medical Economics Company. The following year his company launched Physician Assistant magazine. The company was sold in 1977, and Frishauf went to work as an editorial director for the new owners, PW Communications, Inc.
In 1981, Frishauf raised venture capital and started SCP Communications, Inc. From day one, in the pre-PC era, SCP was a paper-free electronic community: the sales, editorial, production, and finance groups had networked access to information and work processes via a hand-built alpha micro computer, with much of the system developed by Peter.
In 1995, Frishauf started Medscape, a low-budget experiment that crept onto the Web courtesy of a nimble and efficient team at SCP that staffed and funded the project. Medscape was his vision for a place on the Web where physicians and other healthcare professionals who registered could find freely-available, trusted, peer-reviewed medical content and CME. Medscape launched on Monday, May 22, 1995 with the following description:
MedscapeSM—the online resource for better patient care.
A new, free Web site for health professionals and interested consumers. Practice-oriented information is peer-reviewed and edited by thought-leaders in AIDS, infectious diseases, urology, and surgery. Highly-structured articles and full-color graphics are supplemented with stored literature searches and annotated links to relevant Internet resources. From SCP Communications, Inc., one of the world’s leading publishers of medical journals and medical education programs.
Almost 20 years later, Medscape is still thriving and profitable—and as a product, is better than ever.
What made Medscape possible is the corporate culture Frishauf nurtured at SCP, a healthy, informal, and committed place where people were encouraged to try new things and imagine new possibilities. SCP’s low-cost operating style proved the most viable way to get things done quickly and efficiently.
Frishauf served as Medscape’s CEO until February 1998 when he became Chairman of its Executive Committee. He was a member of its Board of Directors through its IPO and until its merger with MedicaLogic/Medscape, Inc. in May 2000. MedicaLogic sold Medscape to WebMD in December 2001, and Peter left the enterprise in 2002. SCP was acquired by CMP Healthcare Media in 2004.
Peter Frishauf contributions to the industry and his community are numerous. He is a past president of the Healthcare Marketing & Communications Council and the nonexecutive Chairman of the Board of Directors of Crossix Solutions, Inc.; a director of MedPage Today, a site that covers breaking medical news peer-reviewed by the University of Pennsylvania; a director of the Omnimedix Institute, a healthcare information technology consultancy; and an advisor to Markle Foundation’s Connecting for Health initiative. In January 2009 he joined the Board of Directors of Oakstone Publishing. He also serves as president of the Alumni & Friends of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and is a member of the medical journalism advisory board for the medical journalism masters program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Innovative, high energy, and intensely supportive of his colleagues and staff, Peter Frishauf established a record few can match, but all can marvel at.
Ludwig “Bill” Frohlich came to the United States in 1931. He had been educated at the University of Frankfurt and in Paris. His specialty was type design and art direction and he applied his talents to pharmaceutical promotion in the US prior to World War II, beginning his own business in 1939. He incorporated his advertising agency in 1943 in time to capitalize on the postwar surge in “miracle drugs.” L.W. Frohlich, Inc. grew rapidly with such clients as Parke-Davis, Schering, Ethicon, Mead Johnson, and Ortho. In the 1950s, his agency took part in the burst of creativity which accompanied the boom in pharmaceuticals, establishing the formats for such tactics as direct mail, detail aids, journal advertising, sampling, educational materials, etc, which we still use today.
As an immigrant, Frohlich brought an international point of view to pharmaceutical advertising and he was the first to set up a network of overseas agencies. Before any competitors, L.W. Frohlich/Intercon opened branches in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid, Milan, and, with foresight, Tokyo.
In addition to pioneering global advertising for pharmaceuticals, Frohlich was instrumental in creating marketing services for the Rx—notably diagnosis/prescribing information. He acquired or founded data-generating companies in the US and in the major pharmaceutical markets, melding them into a unified company, IMS, whose statistics have been basic to pharmaceutical marketing for so many years.
Any description of Bill’s career would be incomplete without reference to his sense of style which saw expression in the furnishings and decoration of the agency’s offices on East 51st Street (New York City), in his Christmas greetings to the industry (usually a small booklet of quotes appropriate to the season, elegantly typeset and beautifully illustrated), and, of course, in the agency’s work. Frohlich gave generously to a number of causes and institutions and the L.W. Frohlich Charitable Trust continues this philanthropy. He was a particularly strong supporter of Dr. Howard Rush and the World Rehabilitation Institute.
Frohlich’s career was cut short by his untimely death in 1971. Stricken by a brain tumor in January, he died in September of that year.
Francis Gace was born in South Africa and graduated as a Bachelor of Arts (cum laude) from the University of South Africa. After graduation in the late 50s, like many of his compatriots-of-the-day, he headed to London to attend the famed St. Martin’s College of Art and Design. He gained the coveted AAPA (Association of Accredited Practitioners in Advertising) Diploma and was recruited by the blue-chip advertising agency J. Walter Thompson.
After meeting his future wife, Claire, in London, they returned to South Africa where he joined a small, independent agency in Johannesburg and was entrusted with handling the agency’s flagship account, Datsun Nissan Motors. However, as agency chief Tommy Young warned him at the time: “…You’ll also have to handle Burroughs Wellcome – it’s a pharmaceutical account and nobody else wants to work on it!”
Far from being deterred by the complexities and restrictions of pharmaceutical marketing, Gace was enthralled with the challenges of Pharma and in his own words said, “ I caught a bad attack of Medicine!”
Significantly, during this time, he met his future British partner, Clive Lewis, who became his client at BW. Two years later Gace joined the South African affiliate of what was to become Merrell Dow and then moved to today’s Sanofi, where he spent several valuable years developing his inherent creative talents, as Director of Advertising and Marketing.
The high caliber of the creative work he produced for many of the multinational’s brands including Syndol, Tenuate, Bentyl and Bendectin, won Gace South Africa’s premier advertising award sponsored by The South African Society of Marketers. His campaigns were adopted by Merrell affiliates around the globe, including the USA, and, as a consequence, in 1975 he received an unprecedented promotion, moving from a relatively small subsidiary at the tip of Africa to become the Advertising Director of the Merrell’s U.S domestic operation with global oversight for new brands.
After several years on the client side, in 1984 Gace was lured back to the agency side, becoming Senior Vice-President, Client Services, under Larry Lesser at Medicus in New York where he handled several of Merrell’s brands, as well the professional promotion of P&G’s Crest and related brands.
During the mid-80s Gace lead the movement into ‘DTC’ promotion, particularly with brands like Nicorette and Seldane which preceded the popularity of DTC/and DTP initiatives by almost a decade.
In the late 80s Gace reunited with his old friend and ex-client, Clive Lewis, in co-founding Lewis & Gace. With 11 major account wins in a single year, the firm became Agency-of-the-Year in 1991. The fledgling agency attracted major clients like Merck, GSK, Lilly, Genentech, Novartis, Roche, Astra, Schering AG, and Pharmacia with their uniquely elucidated approaches to Global Pharma Brand creation and Gace’s deep experience with DTC promotion. In fact, Gace’s pioneering work in this field led him to recommend to Merrell’s Nicoderm brand team that they should run TV commercials during the 1992 Super Bowl. This million dollar media buy for a Pharma product was the first of its kind and was unheard of at the time!
Inevitably, with its tremendous success, the agency became a target for acquisition. In 1995, Lewis & Gace was acquired by Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhart. BJK&E was acquired by True North, which, in turn, merged with The Interpublic Group, in 1997. During this time Lewis Gace Bozell Worldwide grew to become the fourth largest specialized medical agency in the world.
After an illustrious career, Francis Gace retired as Co-Chairman of LGB in 1998 and now lives with wife Claire in Bainbridge Island, in Washington State, where he has become an accomplished sculptor and portraitist.
A broad recognition of a name within an industry speaks to the accomplishments of its holder. In medical advertising circles, the nickname “Win” could only refer to one person—Irwin C. Gerson. The positive, friendly connotations of the name also speaks to characteristics and the career of the man it represents. It takes time for an appellation to take hold and Gerson has put in the time—over 40 years in Rx marketing. It also has to resonate with a person and Gerson has decidedly been a “winner.”
Gerson graduated from the Fordham University School of Pharmacy (influenced in his career choice by his father’s ownership of a drugstore). After service in the Army in California, he returned to the East in 1953, eventually taking a job with Wyeth as a sales representative. While in the field, he obtained an MBA, but finding detailing limiting, answered a blind ad and was hired at William Douglas McAdams in 1958. He remained with the agency for the rest of his career.
Beginning in the market research department he moved up quickly as his tranquilizer experience with Wyeth’s Equanil proved useful to the agency’s introduction of Roche’s Librium. He quickly advanced at McAdams, taking over the Roche account in 1961, and becoming General Manager in 1970, Executive Vice President in 1972, President in 1974, and Chairman in 1987. Over all, Win spent 26 years at McAdams in a chief executive capacity, a position from which he projected his ideas and personality throughout the industry.
The McAdams agency was dominated for much of its history by Arthur M. Sackler, MD. Dr. Sackler, who from the time he became the principal owner in 1942 until his death in 1987, played a central role in its direction. He was larger than life—clinical researcher, advertising and Rx marketing innovator, publisher, art collector, connoisseur, and philanthropist. Gerson’s relationship with him greatly shaped his success at McAdams.
Win recalled their first meeting in his early days at the agency in an MM&M interview: “He invited me to a meeting on tranquilizer marketing and discussed physicians’ reactions to certain approaches with me. He liked me and respected my knowledge of the business.”
A long-time Gerson associate says, “As Win grew in the business, developed professionally, and gained more experience, he became more of a confidant of Arthur’s and they worked very, very closely together. He and Arthur almost had a father and son relationship. And I think that it helped the agency because when Arthur passed on, Win was so closely associated with Arthur that it was almost assumed that he would be the natural inheritor of that position.”
Many at the agency (now Lowe Healthcare) consider Gerson’s holding the organization together after Sackler’s death, working with clients, employees, and the Sackler family, to be Win’s “finest hour.” However, Gerson’s accomplishments go well beyond this crisis period.
His pharmacy background and his long promotional experience equipped him to formulate effective marketing strategies for innumerable products. Drawing on this knowledge, he led his agency through the introduction of dozens of successful Rx brands, among them Valium, the first $100 million pharmaceutical. He was extremely active with industry trade groups, influencing their positions on government regulations and working with the regulators to help them understand the positive role advertising and promotion plays in healthcare communications. In this role, he was a spokesperson for the value to the physician of the industry’s professional and consumer educational programs.
But overall, Win will be best remembered for the kind of a person he is—a patient listener before giving opinions, a leader who’s receptive to new ideas (managed care programs, DTC, and the Internet), a superb salesperson with formidable “meeting skills,” and an executive of perceptive political instincts. He is also known for his sense of humor and for, as one colleague tells it, “his ability to see through the nonsense on a day-to-day level…to calm people down…to put things in perspective.”
Lastly, those who know him sensed that Win was one of those fortunate few who loved what they did. He was completely in tune with pharmaceutical advertising. He delighted in his work and his attitude radiated an aura of good feeling around him. While Gerson retired at the end of 1998, his automobile license plate still reads “RX ADMAN.”
Members of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame leave a record of their presence in the industry through marketing ideas, new organizations, and memorable promotional campaigns. Although David Gideon spent a brief time as an agency copywriter, his career was not involved with the creation of the promotional message. Rather it was his innovative thinking, talent for new technology, and entrepreneurial drive that has made a lasting impression on the industry.
Gideon entered the field when he joined Armour Pharmaceuticals after graduating with an MBA from the University of California (Berkeley). His career took a crucial turn when, while in the Navy, he became acquainted with computer programming. When he returned to Armour, the company recognized this computer knowledge and assigned him to analyze and optimize their medical journal spending. This application of computers systems to the management of medical journal advertising was to occupy him for more than a decade and lead to the founding of PERQ—a service that handled journal selection, as well as automating many of the manual functions of costing, schedule generation, contracts, and insertion orders.
PERQ was a clear advance over the time-consuming work of agency and company media departments that were grappling with the clerical burden of placing, monitoring, and billing/paying multimillion-dollar journal budgets. Gideon’s systems have been refined, but the computer applications that he helped pioneer revolutionized the selection and buying of medical media.
Looking for an efficient means of publicizing PERQ, Gideon became interested in creating a trade journal as a promotional vehicle. It was named Perspectives. The publication was supported by advertising from medical journals, and reported on healthcare media trends, advertising reports, and “how to” editorial. It brought new insights into purchasing medical media based on the innovations that computer systems were bringing to the field. With a profitable advertiser base, Perspectives was able to go to a monthly frequency in 1981.
Gideon had had a satisfactory taste of trade publishing, so when Medical Marketing & Media came up for sale, he bought it. As a further commitment to publishing, Gideon sold PERQ in 1983, and then did the unprecedented thing of moving his business out of the Rx heartland of the Northeast to Florida.
Gideon had become taken with the Caribbean from his days in the Navy and judged that he could have proximity to “the islands” from Boca Raton while maintaining access to the industry. He then proceeded to enhance the editorial content of MM&M, merging it with Perspectives, and turning it into an authoritative outlet for reporting and opinion on pharmaceutical marketing.
A few years later, Gideon’s computer expertise was revived. In 1987, he was given the opportunity to buy the Pharmaceutical Marketers Directory—an industry-wide catalogue of people and their positions at Rx companies, ad agencies, publications, research firms, and other industry suppliers. He saw that changing from manual production, based on the dated mechanical layout process, to computer data management and production software for producing printer’s materials could greatly streamline the editorial and printing of PMD. Gideon accepted the challenge of what was an information nightmare of assembly, proof reading, printing, distribution, and billing.
Beverly Reynolds, PMD’s publisher, recalls what happened: “In 10 days, together with our IT person, David designed the whole system, including billing, the whole ball of wax. He announced to everyone on the job that we were going to have a lot of hard work to change this and try to automate that in mid-production. And at the end of this, there would be a bonus if we made the deadlines. Everyone put in a ton of work, and we got the book off to the printer. And David said, ‘Everyone goes to the Bahamas for five days!'”
The site of that employee reward had significance for Gideon’s Florida location, for he became active in producing tourist guides for the Caribbean islands such as the Bahamas, St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and Grenada—creating his company, CPS Communications, a sizable publishing operation.
After his noteworthy accomplishments of founding PERQ, creating Perspectives, reviving Medical Marketing & Media, turning around the operation of PMD, and running a successful travel magazine network, then Gideon became one of the creators of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame.
Ron Pantello, Chairperson of Euro RSCG Life Worldwide, and the Chairperson on the Executive Committee of the MAHF, describes what happened at a 1996 lunch. “David and I got together, and we were lamenting that some of the great people in the industry had retired and were no longer remembered. The history of the business was being lost. I said to David, ‘I’ve been thinking about honoring these people and I think we should have a Hall of Fame like in baseball to honor those people who made our business. I know it takes a lot of time and effort, but somebody should do something.’ And David looked at me and said, ‘We have to do this. That’s a great idea. And I’ll support it financially. We have to do this.’ I looked at him and he was beginning to energize me and I said, ‘Really?’ And he said, ‘Let’s do it. You get the agencies, I’ll do the rest, and we’ll make this thing a reality.'”
The MAHF has been in operation for nine years; appropriately, Gideon was inducted this year. He sold MM&M and PMD to Haymarket Media and left the company after 2003. He lives in Boca Raton and continues his love for the Caribbean with communications projects for clients in the islands.
Audrey Girard was a medical advertising pioneer, both in her professional capacity and as a role model for women now flourishing in our industry.
Growing up in England, Audrey learned about print production from her father, who was a printer. Among his clients was a paint company. While checking proofs for their color charts she learned to be meticulous and conscientious, traits which would serve her well in a career to come.
During World War II she volunteered for the British equivalent of the Women’s Army Corps, where she developed another important character trait: taking on important responsibilities. She was assigned to take notes for the planning of the Normandy invasion at General Eisenhower’s headquarters.
She came to the U.S. as a war bride, having married William Girard, an American Army Colonel. Putting her printing skills to use, she went to work in the production department of the J. B. Roerig Company, a mid-size pharmaceutical company located in Chicago, Illinois.
At Roerig, Audrey made her mark long before women were generally accepted in the business world, in fact, while they still faced substantial discrimination. Rising to the position of advertising manager, she became one of the very first female executives at a prominent pharmaceutical company, just as she was later to pioneer as the first woman to serve as president of the Pharmaceutical Advertising Club (now the HMCA).
In those days, advertising managers were the equivalent of today’s marketing directors, with substantial authority and responsibility. Her appointment to this position was a direct tribute to her business skills and judgment. As ad manager of J. B. Roerig, Audrey reported directly to the president and had the final say on most marketing strategy decisions. For many years after Roerig was acquired by Pfizer, it remained an autonomous unit, and her authority was undiminished. Only later, when the product manager system was introduced, did her role in the company change.
Audrey was responsible for the spectacularly successful marketing of such Roerig products as Antivert, Bonine, and Atarax. Each was promoted by heavy journal advertising and direct mail campaigns. Under Audrey’s direction, these campaigns stayed consistently on message, always featuring the same copy and art themes. Not only were the messages consistent, they were highly imaginative. “Vertigo, Vertigoing, Vertigone” for Antivert. “Blue at breakfast? In the pink with Bonine” for morning sickness. And for the tranquilizer, Atarax, “Peace of mind” and “When peace of mind can’t wait” when the parenteral form was introduced. Although the term had yet to be invented, this was branding at its most effective and Audrey understood and utilized it to the fullest.
Since Audrey’s skills did not include copywriting, what she contributed to the creative process was an unfailing ability to inspire the agency to do its best and to approve and appreciate good work when it was presented. She also realized the advantage of consistency and reinforcement – to let campaigns run month after month, even year after year, without changing the basic message. All of these qualities made her the perfect client for an agency – tough, demanding, highly focused, determined. At the same time she was supportive, appreciative of good work, and never let her ego get in the way of doing what was best for her employer.
Since she passed away in 1983, younger people in the industry did not have the privilege of getting to know Audrey or her work. But they should be aware of what she did as an industry pioneer, shaping what the field of medical advertising is now, and blazing a trail for equal opportunity for women. For these reasons, she deserves to honored for her lifetime’s work.
After graduating from Columbia University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Steven Girgenti quickly demonstrated his drive by earning a Master’s degree in business while attending night school. He began his career in healthcare working in marketing positions with Squibb, Carter Wallace, and Endo DuPont. At Endo he demonstrated his keen marketing instincts. Certain that J&J would eventually market a Tylenol-with-oxycodone product due to its success with Tylenol with codeine, he convinced Endo management to market Percocet before J&J could bring its formulation to market. This prescient move both protected Percodan and created a major market for Endo DuPont.
Following his success at Endo, Girgenti moved to the William Douglas McAdams agency, where he quickly rose to VP Group Supervisor working on the Ciba Geigy account. In 1980, he left McAdams together with Bill Bologna to co-found Bologna International. At Bologna he developed a logarithm for TheoDur that demonstrated an important product benefit, its ability to provide consistently flat blood levels for a full 12-hour dosage period. This work helped propel TheoDur sales from under $12 million to almost $100 million in less than three years, making it the most widely prescribed drug for asthma of its day.
In 1986, Girgenti founded Girgenti, Hughes, Butler & McDowell with the vision of creating the agency of the future, a firm that would provide every marketing service needed for medical marketing in every major world market. By accomplishing this, a pharmaceutical client would have a single source for every service they needed. Under his leadership, GHBM developed a staggering array of capabilities – advertising, direct mail, marketing and media research, PR, web services, medical education, a contract sales force, DTC, TV and print production, symposia and sales meetings, and a publishing division for single-sponsor magazines.
In 1990, correctly seeing that DTC would be an important element of pharmaceutical communications in the future, Girgenti registered another first by purchasing a consumer agency – Rubin, Reid, Noto, Ehrenthal. In short order, GHBM had more than 20 DTC assignments and became a leader in this field.
With this formidable scope of capabilities, GHBM grew rapidly, and in 1997, Girgenti took another bold step, launching Healthworld, which turned the privately held agency into a public corporation, listed on NASDAQ. Under Girgenti’s leadership, Healthworld became part of WPP in 2003, with 55 offices in 36 countries, serving 200 clients with over 1,000 brand assignments.
Even with all of this activity, Girgenti has found time for other involvement. He has served as a director of Burren Pharmaceuticals and Pharmacon International, and is currently a director of MDTV and Vycor Medical. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of Vatera Capital LLC, is Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors for the Mt. Sinai Hospital Prostate Disease and Research Center in New York City, and is on the Board of Directors for Jack Martin Fund, a Mt. Sinai Hospital affiliated charitable organization devoted to pediatric oncology research.
Girgenti’s accomplishments and contributions have brought more than just business success. In 1998, and again in 1999, Business Week named Healthworld one of the Best Small Corporations in America. In 1999 Forbes listed Healthworld as one of the 200 Best Small Companies. He was also recognized as “Entrepreneur of the Year” by NASDAQ in 1999, and was named Med Ad News’ first “Medical Advertising Man of the Year” in 2000.
After retiring from advertising, Girgenti founded DermWorx, a specialty pharmaceutical company that uses patented nanotechnology for optimizing the efficacy of certain topical dermatological drugs. He is currently its President and CEO.
Steven Girgenti’s achievements in the industry are numerous and extraordinary. His vision and drive, time and again, have led him to break new ground and lead the industry in new directions.
Metrics for a growing industry
Raymond Gosselin was a pioneer in developing marketing research measurements for the prescription pharmaceutical industry, the information which would become crucial for marketers in the creation and refinement of their marketing strategies. During his time in the industry, he was also an educator and editor, guiding the careers of countless students and passing on valuable information to pharmacists nationwide.
In the late 1950s, Ray started his own firm in Boston (R.A. Gosselin and Company) and established the National Prescription Audit (NPA), which was the first measure of prescription activity in the pharmaceutical industry. The National Prescription Audit was based on a sample of retail pharmacies across the country, and proved to be remarkably accurate and useful in the development of marketing plans for prescription drug products. Prior to the National Prescription Audit, estimates as to how an individual product was progressing in terms of sales, prescription count, and market share was nothing more than a guess at best. The “Audit” was purchased by pharmaceutical companies, advertising agencies, and investment firms where it became an integral part of their operations. The NPA opened the door for all succeeding audits which today are a multi-million dollar industry unto themselves.
In the early 1970s, Ray’s firm introduced the Audatrex audit. This audit came from a panel of physicians who provided a copy of each prescription written (without the patient’s name). The data from this audit were used to study drug penetration, physician prescribing persistence, and market share development. Prior to Audatrex, these important marketing facts were subject to speculation, rather than reliable measurement. Audatrex took marketing intelligence to a higher level, providing in-depth information never before available.
Ray Gosselin’s other activities were numerous and distinguished as well. Ray was graduated from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy (MCP) in 1943 and entered the Navy. He was a gunnery officer and commander of amphibious assault ships and was awarded both the Purple Heart and Silver Star.
Ray started as an instructor at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy (MCP) prior to starting his own firm. After selling his firm to IMS, he rejoined MCP as president and served from 1972 to 1987. His presidency was the longest in the 176-year history of the College. During his term in office, 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. During this same time, he registered perhaps one of his proudest achievements, earning a doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of South Carolina in 1973.
After retiring from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, Ray continued in his role as an educator. From 1987 to 1993 he was the editor and publisher of Pharmacy Times, one of the leading publications in its field.
Throughout his long and varied career, Raymond Gosselin made his mark as an exceptional individual whose contributions influenced and advanced the field of medical advertising.
Ray died on November 8, 1999.
The Quiet Visionary
Quiet. Brilliant. Forward thinking. Alan Gross has long been known as a person who shunned the limelight even as he pushed others into it. He created a company that continually broke new ground – launching whole new drug categories, creating new marketing modalities, and guiding the careers of countless individuals who lead our industry today.
Alan Gross grew up in Philadelphia. He opted to pursue scientific courses in his education. In 1961, after receiving a BA in Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania, he further forged his scientific credentials with a graduate degree in Microbiology/Biochemistry at Western Reserve Medical School.
Despite this formidable education, Alan’s initial jobs were as a truck driver and mechanic, before joining ER Squibb and Sons as a sales representative in 1967. In 1970, he moved into the advertising world by becoming an advertising manager with Squibb. His creative abilities lead to a position as creative director with Squibb’s in-house agency. He left Squibb in 1974 for a position with Lavey, Wolff & Swift, and then returned as Director of Advertising before joining Maxon Davis as EVP, account services in 1977.
In 1978, Alan formed his own agency, Alan Gross Communications. Together with Jane Townsend, who would be his partner in love and life for more than three decades to follow, he worked out of his apartment to build his agency. With the addition of Ronnie Hoffman and David Frank, the agency became Gross Townsend Frank Hoffman, and opened offices on Union Square.
Driven by new, multi-channel communications marketing capabilities, and top level creative and strategic thinking, the agency grew steadily, earning a reputation for a solid product and a work environment that fostered personal growth and development. In late 1986, the agency was sold to Grey Advertising, with Alan and Jane guiding its continuing growth until 1993 when they retired.
Alan Gross was always ahead of the times in terms of communications and was one of the leaders in the development of such concepts as integrated, multi-channel marketing, healthcare PR, managed care services, TV advertising, DTC, and CRM. Early direct-to-consumer work included the New Year’s Quitters ad for Nicoderm, the Know Your Number, campaign for Mevacor, and the ground-breaking National Cancer Survivors’ Day. One of his major contributions to pharma marketing was the formation of Phase V Communications, through which the agency pioneered computer-driven CRM marketing with The Cholesterol Connection, and media such as Seasons Magazine for Premarin – one of the first CRM loyalty programs.Under Alan’s guidance, Phase V was a groundbreaker in the field of medical education.
Alan’s scientific passion was the driving force behind many of the agency’s successes. His “in-house research” which showed that Nuprin dissolved faster than Advil was the foundation of its successful promotion, and his insights into the role of statins anchored the successful work done for Mevacor.
With GTHF, Alan grew a global network earlier and more substantially than many other agencies. The agency handled the global launch of Merck’s Mevacor, the first statin drug, and the global launch of Roche Diagnostics’ Amplicor DNA/PCR test. Under his quiet, careful guidance, the agency grew steadily and impressively for more than two decades.
The above accomplishments are impressive. Alan led the way in developing new ways of thinking about what marketing could do and integrating disparate components into a single communications plan. However, he and Jane always insisted that their greatest accomplishment was finding and developing scores of individuals to do their best, discover their talents, and achieve their own success. He is quick to give credit for GTFH’s successes to others. He showed people the way by example. He always encouraged people to stretch, think big, and try new concepts. The people who worked with him are a fiercely devoted and loyal group, a solid testimonial to his qualities as a leader.
Unlike many people who retire from a successful career, for Alan and Jane this was the beginning of a new phase of his life contributing to their new home in Bonaire. Their work included efforts for the local Red Cross, ecological projects, an island disaster plan, and an after-school program for teens. In appreciation of their many efforts, Alan & Jane were made Knights of the Order of Nassau-Orange by the Queen of the Netherlands.
As friends and colleagues will attest, Alan’s legacy of accomplishments is outstanding.
Matthew “Matt” Hennessey began his advertising career in 1934 when he joined E.R. Squibb & Sons. It was here he was to meet Arthur Sudler. In 1936, Sudler left to set up shop with Squibb as his charter client and Hennessey joined him. In 1942, Hennessey became a partner and Sudler & Hennessey was formed.
From those early days at E.R. Squibb & Sons, during his partnership with Arthur Sudler, and throughout his career, Matt always believed you could win the most games (accounts) by putting the best players on the field. An astute businessman and a fine judge of creative talent, Hennessey, along with Sudler, assembled an outstanding staff of bright young art directors like George Lois, Helmut Krone, Ernie Smith, Herb Lubalin, and, for a time, even Andy Warhol.
In the early days, Sudler & Hennessey did a broad range of design work—logos, packaging, corporate advertising programs, image projects and sales promotion for companies beyond the drug industry, including the Saturday Evening Post, McCall’s, and Ladies’ Home Journal. The original multicolored peacock was designed for NBC by Sudler & Hennessey.
In 1953, Matt conceived of the idea of a single-sponsor newspaper and presented the idea to CIBA Pharmaceuticals. Medical News was an innovation in pharmaceutical promotion. CIBA quickly became the second Rx client of Sudler & Hennessey. Subsequently, the Merrell, Schering, and Warner Chilcott accounts were added.
Matt, by virtue of his training, was a believer in the power of visual communication, using a visual image to separate a product from its competition. A pursuer of creative excellence, Matt was known for challenging his staff to reach for bigger, better, more memorable ideas.
Soon, the decision was made to concentrate on the drug industry. After Sudler’s death in 1968, Hennessey guided the organization as it became the largest US medical agency for a span of over 20 years (1970s-1990s). In 1972, Sudler & Hennessey became part of Young & Rubicam and began an expansion into the international arena.
Hennessey retired in 1984.
Leadership in advertising is not only achieving financial success and stature in the business. It is also the influence leaders have on the lives of those they worked with at their agencies. The career of Ronnie Hoffman, one of the first woman creative directors at a major Rx agency, must include the inspirational role she played for employees, principally young women, who were with her at Gross Townsend Frank Hoffman (now Grey Healthcare Group) in the 1980s.
She exerted her influence as an outstanding copywriter, but even more significantly, it was her one-of-a kind personality that so profoundly affected those around her. Hoffman is remembered for her passionate approach to living—music, theater, art, food, social causes, friendships, and healthcare advertising. She was a forceful advocate for the role of Rx advertising in advancing improved treatments to save lives and improve the quality of living. Accordingly, her enthusiastic spirit led her to exhaustive study of the science of products, to enrich the promotional message with motivating insights for physicians and patients and to be able to distill brand virtues to simple, direct copy.
David Frank, who worked with Hoffman for many years, describes her approach to writing headlines and text: “On the one hand, she was this analytical, scientific type, and at the same time she was able to take very complex information, that she understood completely…and break it down into bite-size ‘chunks,’ which was her phrase…to make [copy] telegraphic and easily understood.”
She applied this technique to good advantage on Merck’s Tonocard, for which she wrote the headline/slogan, “Like Lidocaine, But It’s Oral.” She also brought her direct approach to the launch of Merck’s mega-brand Mevacor, as well as a marketing vision for the product that included an agency recommendation for broad-scale cholesterol screening—an indication of her sense of the public health value of pharmaceuticals. The agency’s assignments from Merck led to Hoffman’s involvement in the formulation of the company’s brand positioning system that employs all elements—color, graphics, logo, type, headlines and copy—to project a product personality.
The strength of her copy was its simplicity and honesty. Lynn O’Connor Vos, Grey’s current CEO who was an AE on the Merck account, recalls what happened when an FDA-mandated “black box” letter, written by Hoffman, was sent out on Tonocard: “Prescriptions went up! Ronnie told that story over and over again. She’d explain, ‘If doctors know the truth, they’ll get comfortable with the product and they’ll write more.'”
Although those who knew Ronnie Hoffman praise her scientific acumen, writing talent, and appreciation of the business, they tend to concentrate on her personality and the impact she had on their lives. Lori Spielberger, now creative director copy at LM&P Questar, was a copy typist at GTFH who Hoffman helped make the jump to copywriter.
In an appreciation of her, Spielberger says, “Ronnie gave me a career…her belief in me, in a kind of easy way, without making a big deal of it, but just opening the door for me…in a sort of ‘Come on in. It’s great in here,’ changed my life.”
Risa Bernstein, co-president and managing partner of Flashpoint Medica, adds, “Ronnie was all about infectious enthusiasm. Everyone she touched could feel it. She was the persona we all became. She helped groom a generation in our industry, a group of kids, to grow up and love this business. And she had an amazing impact on women because, here she was, one of the trailblazing women [at medical agencies].”
Says Ilyssa Levins, chairperson of GCI, Grey’s PR group, on Hoffman’s supportive qualities, “She cared about people…she was able to take you into the folds of her…to embrace you in her life…and make you feel that there was no one more important than you.”
Speaking of GTFH when Hoffman was creative director, Lynn Vos says, “It was an agency of very young people. We grew up with Ronnie Hoffman. She was the first person I worked with who was that smart and that engaging. She set a standard of excellence and brilliance that was inspirational and you wanted to achieve at that same level. And it was fun working with Ronnie. She made coming to work a blast.”
Hoffman’s fervent passion for her work came, not surprisingly, with a stubbornness, even a combativeness, with colleagues and even clients about copy and marketing ideas she believed in.
Recalls Ilyssa Levins, “You couldn’t push her. She was unmovable…[but] all difficulties with Ronnie were resolved most of the times with peals of laughter. Just like [in a family] you can get angry, but then you move back, and continue on, knowing that the people really care about you, and everything’s okay.”
Hoffman was active in the early days of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association. She was the featured speaker at the group’s first large gathering and made an impassioned address on the need for a forum to help further the careers of women in medical advertising. What she said was to set the direction for the organization.
In June 1991, while at work at the agency, she was stricken by a cerebral aneurysm. She lingered in a coma for weeks and died on September 3, 1991. The untimely death of the vigorous, passionate, and generous woman who was such a force at GTFH and in the industry stunned the agency and everyone who knew her. She was such an unusual talent, with such a capacity to inspire others, and she played such a major role in advancing the careers of women in Rx advertising that the imprint she made on our industry remains indelible.
The art of writing medical advertising requires knowledge about the product and the science behind it, as well as the ability to give life to the data that renders an argument for the product both compelling and luminous with words that are fresh and memorable.
The art of writing medical advertising is especially difficult, given the medium. Unlike consumer advertising where you might be writing the only ad for a fountain pen in a magazine carrying ads for perfumes, cars, food, and clothes, in medical advertising we are often writing an ad for an antihypertensive to appear in a cardiology book in which most of the ads are for antihypertensives.
So how does a writer make an ad stand out in such circumstances? The good writer goes in search of a product’s quiddity, that which gives it distinctness. Then he or she seeks to capture that uniqueness in words and phrases that bring it to life.
The above was written by Frank Hughes for Medicine Ave.—The Story of Medical Advertising in America that was published by the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame in 1999. Hughes was part of the team that put the book together.
To write about writing is particularly challenging since readers have been alerted by the subject to watch how the author performs. In these few paragraphs, Hughes shows his skill and also gives us a picture of himself.
Most of the copy is expository writing with tangible examples for clarity, but with a few verbal flashes to give the text color. Phrases like “compelling and luminous” and “fresh and memorable” stand out against the background of direct language. And then there is the uncommon word “quiddity,” (definition: essential nature). Its use is Hughes at his best. He pulls us up short with this term just as he is making his point about distinctness, using this unusual word to enhance the sentence’s meaning.
Hughes employed challenging terms in his copy to good effect. For example, also in Medicine Ave., he begins the section on art directors with the provocative statement, “A good art director is subversive.” Then, after emphasizing the attention-getting “subversive,” he goes on to elaborate on the value of “something unexpected” and “unforgettable and part of our visual vocabulary.”
Frank Hughes’ career and his work stand out against the thousands of writers who have written medical advertising copy and resemble the successful antihypertensive ad he referred to which rises above the ordinary.
“He was the very best writer I had ever known in a quarter of a century at McAdams,” says William Wolf. This is no small compliment considering the creative resources at McAdams during Wolf’s tenure. He adds, “His headlines came as a surprise, which is characteristic of the best headlines. Sometimes, the surprise was so great, I had to refuse the copy!”
Tom Domanico, who was Hughes’ graphics partner at two agencies, has similar praise: “Best writer I’ve ever teamed with….Poetic when he had to be, but he could turn a phrase and a way of expressing it because he put so much of himself into it. The emotion was there.”
Harry Sweeney, who was Hughes’ copy chief for a time, adds, “He came with a tremendous skill and background and understanding of the craft and was able to adapt it to the craft of advertising.”
Hughes practiced what he preached about knowing the product. His partner Steve Girgenti describes him as “…enormously curious.” Girgenti continues, “He would drive every account person crazy with questions until he was satisfied that he had all the answers…to understand the market and the product or the medicine before he would put a word on paper.”
Hughes’ method, however, had another result. Again, Steve Girgenti: “Frank was very deliberate. He moved at his own pace until he was fully satisfied with what he was producing and you couldn’t rush the process… [he] wasn’t good on deadlines. But that’s why you have great account executives, to cover…the situation to make sure [you develop] the great concepts you need to produce great advertising.”
Hughes left his impression on medical advertising with his writing, but also with his personality. What Domanico said about emotion was reflected in Frank’s life within and outside advertising.
“Of all the qualities Frank possessed,” Girgenti says, “I think compassion was the number-one quality. He was enormously compassionate and considerate of others and cared a lot about people and spent time caring about people.”
Hughes has volunteered many hours at Bellevue Hospital providing comfort and conversation to AIDS patients.
Hughes is a connoisseur on a number of levels—music, art, food—and he radiates a passion on these subjects. He also has a prodigious sense of the ridiculous.
Harry Sweeney comments, “Frank has a streak that is about a mile wide of irreverence.”
Wolf adds, “Like a good Irishman, he loved a good joke. Sometimes he would laugh so hard the blood vessels in his eyes broke.”
As for his contribution to medical advertising those who have worked closely with him put it this way.
“Frank understood the primacy of copy as a driver of the whole craft,” says Harry Sweeney.
Summing up, Steve Girgenti adds, “Frank’s legacy is simply the copy he generated and the importance he placed on copy because without great copy the ad doesn’t have much meaning.”
Pharmaceutical advertising has been known for excellence in graphic design and this reputation owes much to the career of Dick Jones. He was a key designer at McAdams, Sudler & Hennessey, and at art studios during the ’50s and ’60s—the industry’s “Golden Age.” Later, he continued Rx work at his own company, Dick Jones Design, while also extending his range to nonpharmaceutical clients. But, in 1978, he returned to medical advertising joining with Harry Sweeney to form Dorland Sweeney Jones.
Jones not only participated in the creation of healthcare advertising for over 40 years, he also has made a unique contribution to our field by collecting, throughout his career, work he judged worth preserving. This archive became an invaluable part of Medicine Ave: The Story of Medical Advertising in America that was published by the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame in 1999.
The designers, illustrators, and photographers Jones worked with are a “Who’s Who” of famous names. On graduation from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1951, he moved to New York. After jobs at Esquire and a consumer agency, he joined CBS Television and the legendary William Golden. Then, he began his career in pharmaceutical advertising at McAdams where, in 3 years, he rose to become senior art director on Pfizer—one of the leading advertisers at a time when the industry was experiencing a revolution in graphic style. His colleagues at McAdams were Rudi Wolff and Victor Trasoff, and while there he encouraged a young freelance illustrator, Andy Warhol. After 2 years with Harry and Marion Zelenko at their studio, he joined S&H where, in his years there, the des ign staff included the renowned Herb Lubalin, and such talents as Ernie Smith, Arthur Ludwig, James McFarland, and Frank Wagner. Jones was at S&H 12 years, moving to the top design position—creative director/art—before opening his own studio. Well known illustrators whose work Jones incorporated into Rx campaigns were Joseph Low, Lorraine Fox, Ginnie Hoffman, Don Almquist, and Etienne Dellesert. Photographers included Jay Maisel, Simpson Kalisher, Rolf Tietgens, Alfred Gescheidt, Denes Petoe, and Mottke Weissman.
Recalling names associated with Jones is appropriate in bringing out an important side of his character. Advertising is a collaborative activity and Jones was exceptionally skilled in interacting with those in a creative team.
Someone who knows him well describes Jones’ method of managing creative staff this way: “He’s the maestro, the master…give people assignments and then let them do their thing…a lot of people playing set positions in the process. And then, all of a sudden, all the ingredients come together at once in the campaign or the presentation. He was marvelous at getting the best out of people that way.”
Successful, creative advertising and promotion is not simply the result of good “people skills.” Jones is remembered primarily for his discrimination and taste—the high standard he set for his own work and for his group.
“He could take a package insert and do it with style and grace,” says a long-time associate.
He is described by those who knew him as a perfectionist who was concerned with the smallest detail to arrive at the proper balance of copy, graphics, layout, type, color, and overall tone. At the same time he did not overwork material to achieve excellence.
One former client recalls, “Some people labor on it and go on and on…with Dick, he seemed to know when that point came and he was off to something else.”
Jones’ appreciation for outstanding creative work led him to keep the ads and mailers from his time in the business that he particularly liked. He had in mind collecting them in a book on the remarkable flowering of pharmaceutical advertising that had occurred during his career. He teamed up with John Kallir—one of the founders of KPR—who had also saved materials from the period.
The archive they researched became the basis for MAHF’s Medicine Ave—an overview of medical advertising agencies and their work that records the history of our specialized form of advertising. The industry owes them a debt of gratitude for their foresight in recognizing the historic and creative value of past work and its preservation.
Dick Jones was a productive art director for over 40 years in pharmaceutical advertising. The number of creative pieces he designed—ads, mailers, sales aids, brochures, promotional items of all kinds—is staggering. Add to this volume the dimension of quality—his creative campaign concepts, his sensitivity to graphics, and his taste in execution—and you come to an appreciation of his impressive presence in medical advertising. Dick Jones retired from DSJ in 1992, but has remained active creatively, volunteering his services to a number of nonprofit organizations.
With the storm of World War II on the horizon, the Kallir family moved to America from Austria in 1939, bringing with them their teenage son, John. Their home had been Vienna, where John had been born in 1923 and received his primary school education. He began college in New York, but the war took him into the Army and its medical corps, where he was in charge of a hospital’s clinical laboratory. After discharge, he received a BS in chemistry from Manhattan College in 1946, and an MA in modern history from Columbia University in 1949. This background in science and social studies would influence his perspective in the years to come.
Putting his science education to work, he had become a part-time editor of an abstract bulletin for E.R. Squibb while in graduate school. From there, he moved into medical advertising, joining Paul Klemtner & Company in 1949. Klemtner’s offices were in Newark and the business then was for small Midwestern Rx accounts. John’s eyes were on Manhattan and the Pfizer account at William Douglas McAdams, where increased promotional spending and a new creative style were changing the face of medical advertising.
He went to McAdams in 1951 and for the next 10 years was at the center of the transformation in pharmaceutical promotion. He began on Pfizer, was transferred to the demanding Warner Chilcott account where he was instrumental in the success of the cardiovascular product, Peritrate, and, finally, became responsible for all the creative work for Roche. His copy for Librium, including the tagline “The successor to the tranquilizers” helped launch the first benzodiazapine and propel the brand to unprecedented sales levels.
At agencies like McAdams, L.W. Frohlich, and Sudler & Hennessey, the catalogue look of pharmaceutical advertising of the 1940s was being abandoned for contemporary graphic design and emotionally charged copy. An influx of dollars from the highly profitable “wonder drugs” of the period fueled a promotional boom. Sales forces were small, and, accordingly, journal advertising and direct mail were fields of intense competition with agency creativity a key ingredient for marketing success. Kallir was the creative director on the largest account at the largest medical advertising agency. He was center stage and an important player in what has been called the industry’s “Golden Age.” Then in 1961, seeing the opportunity that existed for new advertising agencies, he left McAdams and struck out on his own. In 1962, Warren Ross and Jerry Philips joined him and Kallir Philips Ross was born.
The agency grew to become one of the leaders in medical advertising, at one time ranking as the largest Rx agency in the US. KPR built its business through unusually long-term relationships with such clients as Upjohn, Ortho, McNeil, Merck, Janssen, and Johnson & Johnson.
Pharmaceutical advertising was originally called “ethical drug” advertising. Although the term is out of use, it is particularly appropriate to the career of John Kallir, for he brought to the business a profound sense of the responsibility carried by promotional programs on healthcare products. Kallir’s honesty and integrity strongly influenced the standards of the field. His clients and employees put absolute trust in John’s work, his judgment, and his commitment to them.
This, together with his gracious manner and the breadth of his cultured erudition, made him an outstanding representative of the best in our business. KPR was sold to Doyle Dane Bernbach in 1983, eventually becoming part of Omnicom. Kallir retired in 1993.
When Joann Kirchner entered the media department of Klemtner Advertising in the early ’50s, buying medical journal advertising space was primarily a judgmental exercise with virtually no hard readership data available. The Rx industry was experiencing remarkable growth based on the “wonder drugs” produced by revolutionary scientific research following WWII. Since sales force numbers were small (Lilly’s was the largest at 1,000 and all were pharmacists!), a product’s marketing mix included heavy commitments to print promotion in journals and direct mail. Accordingly, sizable sums were being spent on journal space. The few mass and specialty journals on the scene—Medical Economics, Modern Medicine, JAMA, Pediatrics, and Annals of Internal Medicine—were in an ideal position as the only promotional channels available. They generated research surveys supporting claims to high readership, but, in reality, these data were not crucial in the decision process. What counted was salesmanship and the personality of the journals’ representatives and the rapport they could develop with agency media directors, ad managers, and companies’ top executives.
By family background and education, Joann was not about to accept the subjectivity and cronyism of this process. Her father was a well-known physicist who had worked with Albert Einstein at Princeton on the Manhattan Project. He imbued her with an understanding of scientific methods by his example and by the considerable time he spent with her while she was in school challenging her with mathematical problems and reasoning puzzles. She was also well-grounded academically with a science degree from Wisconsin and a graduate degree in psychology from Columbia. She had a thorough knowledge of statistics—an expertise which was to prove valuable in evaluating media research.
This intellectual foundation prepared her to encourage and accept efforts to objectively define medical journal readership. Most importantly, as Klemtner’s media director, she had access to two heavy journal spenders—Pfizer and Ayerst. She pointed out to these cost-sensitive clients the potential waste of advertising dollars in the “judgmental” system. She advocated that they conduct their own readership studies or subscribe to the new, independent surveys, like Media-Chek, which were entering the field. When these powerful purchasers of journal space, influenced by Kirchner, began requesting better research and data linking readership to prescribing, the rest of the industry followed. Measuring physicians’ journal preferences and the time spent by them reading the various journals assumed the central role in determining journal selection. The buying of journal space became a serious business discipline and not a matter of salesmanship and personal relationships.
Joann Kirchner played a pivotal role in implementing this change in Rx marketing. But she was a forerunner for two other changes as well. First, by the high level of her performance, she elevated the position of media director at medical advertising agencies. Second, she made a strong contribution to the cause of feminism in Rx marketing (Although, as one close friend put it, “Joann would be the last person to burn her bra.”) She was one of the first women to hold a top executive position at a medical advertising agency. After leaving Klemtner, she went to Boclaro, the in-house media-buying service of Bristol-Myers Squibb, where she was in charge of purchasing all healthcare media for the corporation.
After 6 years in this position, she moved to Medical Economics in a leadership role in directing the publication’s marketing research. While there, she decided to put together a reference tool for the company’s sales force. Titled Healthcare Media Planning, the work became much more than a simple guide. It was a compilation of all she had learned about in the evaluating, buying, and managing of medical journal space.
She was at work on the book when she was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer that had metastasized. In light of this, the job of putting down on paper all she had learned in some 30 years in the business took on added significance. She worked hard to finish the book against a grim deadline. With help from her friends, who often recorded and transcribed her thoughts, she completed the task before she died in 1985. Medical Economics released the work the next year.
When he began his advertising agency in 1942, Paul Klemtner had none of the usual background of a pharmaceutical advertising man. He was not a pharmacist, had never “detailed” or written or designed an advertisement. His discipline was finance and from that vantage point, he was thoroughly versed in the operations of the Rx industry.
His entry into the field was through a part-time job at G.D. Searle while working his way through business school in Chicago. Eventually, he became comptroller of the firm, developing cost accounting and financial controls systems which gave him practical understanding of all aspects of a pharmaceutical company.
Klemtner anticipated the shift in direction that would change the drug industry from suppliers of generic ingredients for pharmacists to compound, to creators and marketers of patented, branded products. He became an advocate for redirecting sales forces along these lines and heightening their efficiency. He recommended the winnowing down of product lines to focus on the most profitable drugs. He also urged de-emphasizing calls on dispensing physicians to whom companies sold products in favor of concentration on pure prescribers. Companies besides Searle were in need of this kind of thinking and so Klemtner became a consultant to the industry, setting up Paul Klemtner & Company in Newark, NJ, in 1934.
As his ideas on finance and company operations proved productive, his clients turned to him for additional services, and eventually to advertising. In 1942, he began accepting advertising assignments. In 1944, he incorporated Paul Klemtner Advertising. To handle this new body of work, he brought in a knowledgeable staff beginning with Tom Jones, a recognized expert on detailing and field force management. Others were soon added—Steve Olszewski, Brad Potter, Ted Klein, Herb Freet, and Ed Funk—giving the agency creative and marketing capabilities. Just as Klemtner had had the foresight to see change in the Rx industry, he also saw the promise of improved audiovisual technology in medical communication. Early on, he experimented with closed-circuit TV in hospitals for medical education. The technology of the day proved too costly, but the exercise prepared the agency for a notable success.
In 1955, Klemtner approached Lilly, a producer of the Salk polio vaccine, with a proposal to sponsor a closed-circuit broadcast of the news conference which would announce the findings of the clinical trial on the vaccine. The company accepted the idea enthusiastically. Fifty thousand doctors in 50 cities viewed the program—probably the largest MD audience ever for an event of this kind. Building on this success, Klemtner pursued other audiovisual projects. For example, an LP record which helped Premarin maintain its leadership in the market and eventually, with improved technology, audiocassettes for a number of clients.
Paul Klemtner was a quiet, even a shy man with none of the flamboyance associated with a Medicine Ave. leader. His strength lay in his financial acumen and his accurate understanding of where the industry was headed. He also had the management talent for hiring outstanding people to take charge of areas beyond his expertise and the good sense to let them alone to do their jobs. And he appreciated their contribution to his success, setting up generous retirement and health plans for Klemtner employees. He had set a goal of retiring from business at 60, and typical of his ability to define objectives and achieve them, he did so in 1965. He sold ownership of Klemtner Advertising to the management group at the agency. He moved to Florida and enjoyed an extended retirement, passing away at 92 years of age.
Making Metrics Available
David Labson made an indelible impression on healthcare advertising by developing advanced media research techniques that had, and still have, practical application through all sectors of the healthcare industry. Drug manufacturers, advertising agencies, and journal publishers came to depend on the reliable, easy-to-use, and easy-to-explain products David created. Maybe most significantly, David was responsible for training an entire class of media personnel in the use of media metrics and fundamental media analysis.
After receiving a BS degree in pharmacy from the Medical College of Virginia—now Virginia Commonwealth University—in 1961, David went to MIT’s Sloan School of Management where he earned his MBA in 1963, and met his future wife, Lucy.
Upon graduation from Sloan, David joined Merck as one of six young men on a two-year fast-track management program that ranged from a six-month stint as a drug rep to analyzing the success potential for drugs in developing countries. He eventually left Merck to join Geigy, where he quickly rose from market research analyst to head of the department. Eager for a new challenge, David joined the Roerig division of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals as a product manager, quickly became a group product manager, and, within four years of his arrival, was named co-director of marketing.
Always restless, in 1972 David left Roerig to form his own company, Health Industries Research (HIR). Early on he held two-day seminars for medical marketers and advertisers. He employed the case-study method used at Sloan and the Harvard Business School. He found that there was little objective data on media effectiveness, and what there was, including information on journal readership, wasn’t available to agencies and publishers. David felt that agencies, which were responsible for the selection of media, and publications, that needed to tell their readership stories, should have access to data and services designed for these purposes.
In 1974, David introduced Exposure Value Audit, a research product combining qualitative and quantitative factors for media analysis, followed by the FOCUS syndicated readership/exposure study in 1976. In 1979, he introduced R2/D2, which measured duplicated and unduplicated publication readership. This was followed by a full-scale reach-frequency analysis in conjunction with the PERQ media analysis system, which started a long and mutually beneficial relationship with PERQ founder David Gideon.
Labson continued to bring new techniques to the industry. He broke out readership and exposure based on prescribing levels, patient load, and new drug adoption characteristics. When the media landscape began to change, he created FOCUS for Non-Journal Media. The creative challenge for him remained as it was in 1972: To listen to the industry’s marketers, advertisers, and publishers, and find a way to provide the information they wanted. His career was built on trust, mutual respect and fairness. More than anything else he stressed the importance of client service in connection with any product he introduced. This emphasis on service and teaching is what many felt differentiated HIR from its competitors.
HIR, in conjunction with PERQ, developed data and software that could be easily used by agency media departments. This made him a leader in introducing healthcare agencies and media departments to the world of computers. What distinguished David was his transparency in discussing his methodology and willingness to make modifications if he thought they made sense and did not violate the integrity of the overall model. He had a true partnering mindset and a youthful enthusiasm for what he was creating.
In 1986, David sold HIR to the Dutch company VNU, which merged HIR with PERQ Research. But rather than retire, Dave began a new phase of his career by forming a publishing company, Aegean Communications, Inc. With his wife Lucy as editor, the first issue of Contemporary Internal Medicine, a monthly journal for internists, was published in April 1989. From the start, his intention was to carefully apply the lessons of his research to build readership of the publication. And it worked. Unfortunately, David had only two years to plan and pursue this venture when he died in November 1990 at the very early age of 50. It was a fitting tribute to his career, his contributions to the industry, and the personal respect people had for him that an overflow crowd that included friends, colleagues and former competitors attended his memorial service.
David Labson championed the application of sound research methodology. He helped elevate the role of media departments in healthcare agencies to the same level of those in consumer agencies and trained a generation of media professionals.
Creative personalities who are so talented that they can disregard other aspects of living are familiar figures—the recluse composer, the single-minded scientist. Medical advertising, being an interpersonal process at an agency and between agency and client, would seem a difficult venue for such extreme individualism, but John Lally not only comes close to the stereotype, his career points out that such creative and intellectual dedication can lead to success.
Lally’s education was diverse with only partial preparation for a career in medical advertising. He obtained a BS in chemistry from Colgate and an advanced degree in mathematics from Syracuse. Then, indicative of the remarkable breadth of his talents and interests, he studied concert piano at Juilliard.
He began in medical advertising as a copywriter at William Douglas McAdams and then at the Robert A. Becker agency. Next, in what was a defining career move, he joined Sudler & Hennessey where he worked under an agency leader, Matt Hennessey, who put a premium on the agency’s creative product. At S&H, he was allowed to concentrate on what he liked to do best—create effective market positioning for products and the creative expressions of those directions—to the exclusion of other business concerns. (For example, Lally’s working hours were unpredictable and time sheets an anathema.) His approach to a product was to immerse himself in its clinical and technical literature, analyze the competition, the market and clinical practice in depth and then, using his considerable capacity for retaining detail and his scientific background, bring all the factual threads together into a product positioning. Next, he would dominate the agency’s creative work on the product, always insisting that the positioning be expressed in the simplest terms and in emotionally compelling copy and graphics. At S&H, where he became creative director, his analytical and creative thinking helped such products as Premarin and Inderal achieve record sales.
In 1980, he left Sudler & Hennessey with James McFarland and Ron Pantello to found Lally McFarland & Pantello. There he continued to serve as marketing strategist and creative director for such clients as Ayerst, Norwich, Procter & Gamble, and Wyeth. He led the agency through the example he set as an uncompromising creator of product positioning and advertising. His presentations to clients were memorable for marketing insights and a facile, erudite delivery. His strongly expressed opinions were valued by those who respected his knowledge and creativity, but as with forceful personalities his manner could be intimidating. For all his inflexibility on his creative judgment, Lally was known for his easygoing wit and ready humor. At S&H, his comic memos reporting on agency events were read with delight by the staff. To further illustrate the many facets of this complex, talented man, he is a devoted baseball fan capable of reciting reams of statistics to prove his point. He is also a scholar of the Civil War at such a level as to have taught courses on the subject.
Lally McFarland & Pantello was acquired by EURO RSCG in 1989. Lally retired in 1993.
For 46 years Ken Lavey exerted a strong creative influence on medical advertising. He worked at only three agencies—L.W. Frohlich, Lavey/Wolff/Swift, and Lyons Lavey Nickel Swift—but his talent and personality radiated throughout the industry.
Lavey was from Palermo, California. It’s a small town in the wine growing region north of Sacramento. He graduated from the California College of Arts and Crafts and then came to New York to obtain a degree from Pratt Institute.
In 1949, he was hired as an art director by L.W. Frohlich & Company in time to be part of the boom in pharmaceutical advertising which occurred in the 1950s. He was a major creative force at LWF, eventually becoming creative director, as the agency grew in the next 2 decades to become the largest Rx agency in the world. At Frohlich, Lavey was involved with a range of pharmaceutical companies: Parke-Davis, Schering, Mead Johnson, Ortho, Ames, Miles, McNeil, Roche, and Wallace.
In 1972, when the agency dissolved following Frohlich’s death, Lavey was a founder with Bruce Wolff and John Swift of Lavey/Wolff/Swift. He was responsible for the launch campaigns which L/W/S conducted for such notable products as AZT (Burroughs Wellcome) and Tenormin (Zeneca).
In his long career, Lavey either personally produced or supervised literally thousands of advertisements and promotional pieces. His sense of design and appreciation for quality graphics infused this great quantity of work, helping to set a high standard for the industry. His influence, however, went beyond the work in that, over the years, he came in contact with hundreds of artist, writers, account persons, and client executives on whom he left his mark by his advocacy of the creative spirit. Ken’s impact was also felt in the training he provided to young designers, many of who went on to productive careers in pharmaceutical and consumer advertising.
In a field noted for flamboyant salesmanship, Lavey “let the work speak for itself.” He was direct, without artifice—a quality that endeared him to clients. He was a tall man, over 6’3″ with a Lincolnesque gentleness that was seen in the consideration he gave to his colleagues. He also had an unlimited capacity for creation. Anyone who worked with him will recall how at the key moment he would take charge of a presentation and, hunched over his drawing board, sketch in broad strokes the direction the work should take, usually creating the central campaign idea himself.
Typical of a career filled with productive work, Ken Lavey never retired. He was vice chairman at Lyons Lavey Nickel Swift until his health began to fail. He died in 1996.
Creative driver of The Launch Agency
Creative talent comes in many guises. In the case of Mike Lazur it was as an award-winning Worldwide Creative Director with a passion to continually find new and innovative ways to build clients’ brands.
Mike wanted to be a creative advertising person as long as he could remember, as evidenced by the ads he created while lying on his parents’ living room floor at nine years of age. He studied art and advertising and graduated from the School of Visual Arts. Fresh out of art school during the recession of the seventies, he was lucky and talented enough to land a full time job as Assistant Art Director with the consumer agency Papert, Koenig, and Lois (PKL) in NYC. It was there that he got his advertising feet wet and helped work on notable brands such as Triumph sports cars (namely the TR6, TR7 and Spitfire), Prince Matchabelli perfumes (Cachet, Windsong) and British Leyland’s Land Rover.
In 1976, Mike was hired away from PKL to work for a fledgling new agency startup in New Jersey called Thomas G. Ferguson Associates. Ferguson’s agency was Mike’s entrée into the healthcare marketing field, and for four-and-a-half years he helped Ferguson build his brand.
In 1981, Clyde Davis, Creative Director for Klemtner Advertising in NYC, hired Mike as Senior Art Director to work on brands from Pfizer, Ayerst, E.R. Squibb and USV. Mike’s first successful campaign was for the antihypertensive Lozol from USV Labs. In 1983, he received a call from Joe Torre to come work for his new agency, Salthouse, Torre, Ferrante. In 1992, after building the art department from scratch, and having a great number of successful new product launches under his belt, Mike’s contributions to the agency’s success and growth were recognized by making him a partner, and changing the name of the agency to Torre Lazur.
Mike’s creative expertise and executive skills were the driving force behind an unprecedented string of successful product introductions, helping to build the firm’s reputation as “The Launch Agency.” Over a 20-plus year period Mike contributed to some of the industry’s major successful new product launches and re-launches. Among the many successful launches Mike creatively spearheaded were: Paxil, Tagamet 300, Voltaren, Anafranil, Diovan, Habitrol, and Dyazide.
With this new position, more successful new product launches than any other agency and nine-time winner of Med Ad News’ prestigious “Agency of the Year” award, the agency was poised for global growth, which prompted Mike and his partner, Joe Torre, to find a qualified suitor to help them. They partnered with McCann Erickson, one of the largest consumer agencies in the world. It was there that Mike became Chief Creative Officer worldwide for the healthcare extension of McCann and helped to build the company into a worldwide success.
Mike is noted for his ability to nurture and grow young talent. Through his easygoing management and mentoring style, he has been responsible for many young creative people now enjoying leadership positions in our industry. He is known for always giving credit to the people who did the work and came up with the ideas. While Mike contributed much to the creative side of the business, he would always take a back seat to getting the credit for the award-winning work.
Mike attributes his personal success and that of the agency to constant creative innovation, mentoring his creative staff and always closely guiding the creative people and the agencies creative process to do the best possible work with the utmost in client service. Torre Lazur’s creative culture today is a reflection of Mike’s easy going manner, his creative spirit, his mentoring and managing abilities and his absolute attention to clients’ needs. Mike never managed with a heavy hand, but rather guided and coaxed the best from his subordinates.
Mike’s talent can be witnessed through the many awards that line the shelves of Torre Lazur. Because of that talent, Mike was asked and has served as Chairman of The Global Awards for many years. Under his leadership and while carrying clout with the title of Chief Creative Officer Worldwide for Torre Lazur McCann, The Global Awards flourished, especially on the international scene.
Mike has lectured numerous times to both industry creatives and clients alike regarding the importance of honesty in creativity and strategy so that the ultimate audience, the practitioner, will learn, understand, prescribe and use the brand safely.
After 35 years in the industry, Mike has left an indelible mark and a legacy of creative and business success.
While Irwin Lerner’s career was capped by his tenure as the president and CEO of Hoffman LaRoche, one of the industry’s most successful companies, he often modestly refers to himself as “an old copywriter from Organon.” It is obvious that he is proud of his time in advertising and writing, as borne out by his staunch support of medical advertising during his long and successful career. But, his love of the written word notwithstanding, it is his record of leadership and integrity that makes him truly remarkable.
After a stint as a wordsmith at Organon, Lerner rose to advertising and sales promotion manager. He then moved to Geigy Pharmaceuticals as a sales promotion manager responsible for products including Butazolidin, Tandearil, Anturane, Persantine, and Preludin. In 1962, he was recruited to Roche as advertising product manager for Librium, one of the industry’s first “mega-brands.” He was named director of advertising just prior to the launch of Valium, and made the brilliant marketing decision of positioning Librium for anxiety and Valium for psychic tension. His strategy and promotion clearly established each product’s use and allowed Roche to successfully market two major drugs in the same field.
Always an innovator, Lerner sought new and distinctive ways to get his product message to physicians, such as the Network for Continuing Medical Education. At its peak, this communications vehicle went to 800 hospitals, with a tape sent out every two weeks with information on procedures and medical advances worldwide, and commercials.
Based on his success and leadership qualities, Lerner ascended to the position of president and CEO of Hoffman LaRoche. This was unusual as most CEOs with major pharmaceutical companies came from finance or sales rather than advertising and marketing. His support of advertising permeated the company and anchored the success of numerous Roche brands. When industry critics blasted advertising, Lerner came to its defense, among other things drafting a White Paper on the value of advertising that drew commendation from Dr. David Kessler.
Under Lerner’s leadership, Roche introduced the first co-marketing arrangement in the United States. He approached an old Organon colleague, Joseph Ruvane, now head of Glaxo, and laid out the case for sharing resources to market Zantac. The benefits to both companies, as well as doctors and patients, caused the concept to be emulated by others with co-marketing and co-promotion programs, but never with the same success.
Lerner led by example. He set goals for the company – success, responsibility, fairness, and innovation – and encouraged others to sign on to the mission. When the drug approval process slowed to a crawl, he went before Congress to ask for more money for FDA, and then lead the industry’s efforts to establish industry-paid drug user fees to expedite the process. He established programs to assist indigent patients, because he believed that no patient should be without a Roche drug they needed because they couldn’t afford it.
He made full use of advertising, but also made sure that what was said and done was accurate and responsible. When a Roche drug had serious side effects, he insisted that doctors be made aware of not just the benefits, but the risks as well. He was an inspiring leader, loyal to his staff, colleagues, and friends, causing one staff member to say that when he came in the room, he felt like “standing up and saluting.”
The list of Lerner’s accomplishment and successes is long and impressive. He used advertising wisely and responsibly, and defended it fiercely when he felt it was unfairly criticized. He recognized his company’s obligations to those who took its products and those who worked in its offices. Where others saw problems, he saw solutions. The bottom line, according to one long-term friend and colleague is that “Irwin Lerner is a class guy.”
Success on Two Continents
After helping give birth to the medical communications industry in South Africa, Clive Lewis took his innovative thinking to the U.S., where he established himself as one of the most creative thinkers in the industry, and – together with friend Francis Gace, founded and built a successful advertising agency.
Clive Lewis’ career began in South Africa. After spending time as a medical representative, he joined Burroughs Wellcome’s fledgling advertising department in Johannesburg in 1965. At the time, there were no medical agencies in the relatively small South African market, so three years later, he was hired by Bristol Labs/Mead Johnson to manage the company’s internal creative agency. This unique, multi-functional experience served him well when, in 1971, he formed Clive Lewis & Associates. Well ahead of its time, and predicted by many to fail because of the necessity of handling many conflicting products in such a small market with limited budgets, it became a success. Until then, Pharma companies had recognized the need to create locally relevant materials but had no one to create them, as almost all advertising materials were created either in the U.S or in Europe. South African companies welcomed this new breed of agency – putting the benefits of local creative relevance above their concerns for product conflict.
The agency went on to dominate the South African market between 1971 and 1983. Clive also pioneered the creation and success of the continent’s first medical PR agency, its first medical film unit, and the first company to specialize in the recruitment and training of medical sales reps. In all of these ventures, he showed the innovative thinking and drive that was to lead to greater success, abroad.
Having succeeded in a relatively small market, Clive was attracted by a much bigger
challenge, New York. With international markets growing significantly, Pharma companies were becoming increasingly frustrated by local U.S. agencies that lacked the necessary insights into the differing needs and cultural differences that applied to burgeoning global markets. The time was right for a new entry.
Clive began winning creative assignments in the U.S., from major companies like Ayerst, Lederle, Schering-Plough, Beecham, and SKF, and executing them 8,000 miles away, in South Africa! Even today this would be a difficult “sell” for any international agency. Back then, in the late 70’s, it was nothing short of remarkable.
To be truly successful required moving to where the actions was, so, inevitably, Clive moved to New York City in 1980, setting-up Clive Lewis & Associates in a five-story townhouse on Riverside Drive. It was also in New York in 1987, that he rekindled his friendship and working association with long-time South African buddy, Francis Gace. Coupling Gace’s 20-years in the U.S domestic market with Clive’s established international strengths and reputation gave them the makings of a unique and formidable partnership.
Lewis & Gace was formally created in late 1989 and less than two years later became the
second “Agency of the Year” at the MANNY’s, in 1991. This award was based on their outstanding record of 11 major new business wins in a single year, including Losec/PriLosec, Nicorette, and Cardene.
A pivotal part of L&G’s success during the 90s was their prescience in identifying the importance of Pharma’s need to create global brands and elucidating a set of principles by which to create them. They applied them to mega-brands like Astra/Merck’s ‘Losec’/PriLosec’ and ‘Proscar’; Lilly’s ‘Prozac’ and ‘Zyprexa’; Roche’s ‘Posicor’, as well as a host of others.
Clive’s global branding philosophies included coining such terms as the “Crystallized Brand
Promise,” “Brand Anatomy,” “Brand Vocabulary,” “Color Environment,” “Brand Mnemonics,” and “Controlled Flexibility,” each of which exemplified the innovative thinking that clients readily adopted.
Inevitably, the agency’s growth and success made it a candidate for acquisition. In 1995, it was acquired by Bozell, which later merged with True North (part of FCB). This in turn was acquired by IPG.
One of the major criteria for induction into the MAHF is to have made a major difference in the industry, to have advanced it or created new and unique concepts. Clive Lewis qualifies on all counts. Beginning with his success in creating modern advertising capabilities and concepts in the South African market, he transferred his skills and expertise in handling the needs of the emerging global marketplace to the U.S. market. This, together with his substantial advertising and marketing talent, lead him to create an agency which rapidly became a major force.
Since his formal retirement from the agency world in 1999, Clive now lives in Florida,
with his wife Terry, and describes himself as “a semi-retired consultant to the Global Pharma Industry.”
It is unusual for anyone to have the interest and energy to play an active role in more than a few of the trade associations in our business. Milton Liebman was the exception. Over his long career, Liebman, the 2005 recipient of the Service to Industry Award, literally covered the industry’s trade organizations coast to coast. In the East, it was the Healthcare Marketing Communications Council (HMCC); in Chicago, the Midwest Healthcare Marketing Association (MHMA); on the West Coast, the Medical Marketing Association (MMA). In addition, he contributed time and talent to the Association of Medical Publications and the Coalition for Healthcare Communications. Milt’s resume of service to the industry is long and deep.
He joined the PAC (now the HMCC) in the early 1970s, and wrote the About PAC column for the PACER, the organization’s newsletter, for 13 years. He served on the association’s Board of Directors for two years, was a second vice president one year, and gave his time to numerous committees. In 1986, the PAC recognized his many contributions with its President’s Award.
Milt became a member of the MPAC (now the MHMA) in 1976. Between 1983 and 1987, he wrote the View from the East column in the monthly newsletter, served 2 years on the Board of Directors, and was chairman and member of the Inter-Council Committee for 6 years. The group gave him its Sweeney Award for his service.
For almost 20 years, Milt also found time to be a member of the Medical Marketing Association, serving as its liaison for that organization and the HMCC.
Most importantly, in 1974, he was a founding member of the Association of Medical Publications (AMP), and was the only person to serve 2 terms as president (1979 and 1992). He played a leading role in the development of the AMP and he served as a consultant for a number of years. With the Coalition for Healthcare Communications, he participated in the shaping of the organization’s activities, serving as the group’s Internet site manager and writing news reports.
He accomplished all this against the background of a successful career in publishing that began when he joined Medical World News in 1962 as an associate editor, later becoming managing editor. In 1967, he moved to Hospital Practice as associate publisher, and in his 30 years with the publication, went on to become publisher, executive vice president, and then president. When HP was sold in 1996, he became a contributing editor to Medical Marketing & Media.
In his mid-fifties, Milt was found to have cancer of the vocal cords. After surgery, his voice was reduced to a husky whisper. This did not deter him from returning to the business of selling journal space and managing a publication. In fact, given his straightforward, “it doesn’t matter” attitude about his voice, we all listened to him more carefully, adjusted to his way of speaking, and Milt remained a fixture in the business. His voice even became the trademark of his later years.
Milt Liebman died in December 2003. He will be remembered for his accomplishments in publishing, for his support of many of our trade associations, for the counsel and good advice he gave young people, for the good friend he was to many, and for the warmth of his personality—particularly the look of knowing amusement he would gently interject into a conversation.
And, when we think back on him, we will remember the courage we heard in his voice when he spoke to us in a whisper.
After WWII, the pharmaceutical industry experienced a research renaissance. Dozens of new, revolutionary drugs came on the market, many for previously untreatable conditions. This scientific flowering was accompanied by a comparable new direction in the creative content of Rx promotion. No one person represents this change in creative attitude more than Herb Lubalin, who came to Sudler & Hennessey (S&H) in 1945. He was just in time to catch and drive the wave of change.
In the ’30s and ’40s, pharmaceutical promotion had been an advertising backwater. Most ads simply presented the product’s indication as the headline, the drug’s packaging as the graphic, and the logo as the sign-off. But now, competition for attention among the flood of new brand names required much more. Remember, this was pre-Kefauver when all that was required to put a drug on the market was safety data, not clinical trials proving efficacy. The solution was to draw upon the talent of Madison Avenue for writers and designers who could provide the flash and impact for promotion as up-to-date as the “wonder drugs” being advertised. Lubalin, who had worked at consumer agencies after graduating from Cooper Union in 1939, was drawn to this opportunity. He was to spend more than 20 years at S&H, perfecting his style and design philosophy. By his example, the creative level of pharmaceutical promotion was raised.
Sudler & Hennessey was an ideal venue for Lubalin. Arthur Sudler, who was a great judge of talent, undoubtedly saw Lubalin’s ability and gave him the freedom to practice the new discipline of graphic design, which was coming to the fore. Sudler & Hennessey, then an art studio, was also the right place for Lubalin because of its specialization in print promotion. Lubalin’s passion was for print, particularly typography. The studio was producing hundreds of print pieces—ads, mailers, sample carriers, and collateral materials of all kinds. Lubalin had a copious volume of work on which to experiment and a workload in sync with his prodigious productive pace. At the height of his career at S&H, Lubalin was the creative engine driving the agency. His organizational method was to do rough pencil sketches for execution into finished layouts or “comps” by assistant art directors for transmittal to the client.
George Lois, the famous designer and agency founder who worked at S&H with Lubalin, describes him at work: “He had a talented staff. But he put a tremendous load on himself. He would have a pile of [work] requisitions on his desk this deep with a line of people out the door. He would write headlines, too…and do beautiful sketches and give it to them. And by God, if you looked at it, they were the jobs. They were all figured out. The man was brilliant.”
A great deal of the creative achievements of this period, which has been called the “Golden Age” of medical advertising, can be traced to Lubalin’s influence. His emphasis on fine typography, the use of top photographers and illustrators, and ads with an immediately communicative headline closely supported by a companion graphic, the essence of the poster style, came to be identified with the Rx industry. Additionally, the promotion of this era was marked by an unusually high level of taste, especially in design, and substantial credit for this dedication to quality visuals can be attributed to Lubalin’s work and his influence on the field.
Mike Lyons began his advertising career with the consumer agency Doner Harrison in the early 1960s. He then moved into the prescription world at L.W. Frohlich in 1968. In 1970, he joined Sudler & Hennessey, putting in 9 years when the shop was experiencing a creative flowering fueled by the output of an impressive staff of writing and design talent. This environment saw Mike going from learner to leader in a few short years. He become executive director of design in 1972 and was an important part of the excellence of the agency’s creative product as the art director on award-winning ads for Pfizer’s Navane, Antivert, Diabinese, Sustaire, and Vistaril.
It was through the work on these products that he became friendly with William Steere, then heading up Pfizer’s Roerig Division. When management at S&H chose to take on the breakthrough beta-blocker Inderal in the face of its assignment on Pfizer’s antihypertensive Minipress, the ensuing product conflict gave Lyons—along with John Dorritie, the Pfizer account supervisor—the opportunity all advertising people dream of: the chance to start their own agency. Steere was receptive to a Minipress pitch; they won the account with their creative ideas; and, in 1979, Dorritie & Lyons opened for business.
There couldn’t have been a better time to become a Pfizer ad agency. Dorritie & Lyons (later Dorritie Lyons & Nickel) became the lead agency on such important products as Procardia (the first calcium antagonist introduced in the United States), Feldene (an improved NSAID), and the antibiotic Cefobid. These hugely successful brands propelled the agency from a boutique to a major prescription marketing and creative organization. Assignments from other pharmaceutical clients followed.
Then, in the midst of a rising billings and creative accomplishment, John Dorritie died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1991. Lyons became chairman/CEO and creative director and under his leadership the organization maintained its momentum. In 1994, the agency merged with Lavey/Wolff/Swift to become Lyons Lavey Nickel Swift with Lyons as chairman/CEO and continuing as creative director.
Lyon’s forte as a designer has been his ability to take complex subject matter and crystallize its core information into communicative, compelling, and memorable graphics for ads and sales materials.
“You could whip by one of Mike’s ads and in a second or two or three, you knew exactly what it was telling you,” Al Nickel explains.
Bruce Richmond agrees, commenting, “The creative quality that made Mike unique is that while most of us think in words, Mike thinks in graphics.”
Fellow designer Tom Velarde remembers Mike in meetings: “He always had a pad and a Pentel with him and he would be scribbling all the time. People would be talking. Mike would be scribbling, doing thumbnails that he thought were pertinent and would get the idea across.”
Like many art directors, Lyons is not loquacious and has been described by his colleagues as a “private person,” who concentrates what he has to say into his designs. However, he is far from a one-dimensional creative talent and has written more than his share of winning headlines or returned copy to the writers until it was done to his satisfaction. When he achieved it, he was not ready to compromise.
Jim Stroup explains, “It’s not stubbornness, but he was very insistent about what he believed.”
Adds Al Nickel, “One of his abilities was to do what was best for the brand.”
Lyons could be intense in maintaining his position on what he felt needed to be said about a product. Matters would eventually be resolved, says Nickel, in the “calmness the next morning,” but Lyons would hold out as long as possible for what he thought was right.
“He was passionately competitive in everything he did,” says Richmond. “Whether it was rooting for the Boston Red Sox or whether it was developing an ad campaign or playing a game of tennis, he brought 150 percent to the table every single time. He was never satisfied with mediocrity.”
Lyons is very athletic, excelling at tennis and golf. On this point, William Steere says, “He has extraordinary hand/eye coordination and very quick reaction on the level of champion tennis. When you see him play tennis, you understand how competitive he is.”
Mike is also proficient at scuba diving and spearfishing.
The picture that emerges of Lyons is of an extremely talented creator of advertising concepts and campaigns of superb taste and design values, a reserved person passionate about his work with an athletic side in which his competitive nature finds full expression. But this is not the whole story.
“He took it all very seriously…but he had the ability to laugh at himself,” says Richmond, “which is something you have to do in advertising. Competitive, but a warm, compassionate person.”
“He was extremely loyal to his ideas,” Velarde confides, “and to his people, to his suppliers, and to his old friends. He was a fun-loving guy. There were a lot of things people never knew about Mike. But when you got inside to know the guy, you found he was very different. He had a great, great sense of humor. And to prove that, he’s still a Red Sox fan. If that’s not a sense of humor…and a sense of loyalty, what is?”
Lyons retired from Lyons Lavey Nickel Swift this past year. His work is included in Medicine Ave. as representative of some of the best in 60 years of prescription advertising. Further evidence of his abilities can be seen in the book’s styling, to which Mike contributed as a member of the Medicine Ave. publication team.
The ideal combination for the founding of an advertising agency is a partnership between an account person, an art director, and a copywriter. This union brings together the advertising disciplines of account management/salesmanship, graphic creation, and the promotional message. The founding trio of Cline, Davis & Mann represented these agency components with Morgan Cline (account service), Clyde Davis (art direction), and Fred Mann (copywriter). (Both Cline and Davis are members of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame.) CDM has been notably successful thanks to this balance of the abilities of these talented founders, except that, in practice, there was considerable overlapping of the talents they brought to their collaboration.
Jack Slonaker, chairman and COO at CDM, describes their relationship: “Morgan, Fred, and Clyde were really an integrated team. It was like having three creative directors on a team. Morgan was ostensibly the account guy, but with a strong creative bent. Fred was a strong creative, but also had a strong account service and strategic bent. They didn’t silo each other’s work. They had very interchangeable roles.”
Fred Mann was the central writing resource, but also made important contributions on graphic elements. Clyde Davis, the designer in the partnership, recognized and appreciated the breadth of Mann’s creativity: “He wasn’t just a great writer. He had a knack for doing wonderful visuals. It was often that he would come in with a headline and an idea and you supported it with a visual.” Davis points to the Vibramycin campaign created by Mann that relied on a journal insert on heavy stock to “break the book” for added visibility. Mann suggested a blank sheet with a hole burned through by a cigarette against a visual of the bronchial tree with the headline that read: Where there is smoke, there may be bronchitis. Or, the “Infection from the pathogen point of view” campaign, also based on an idea by Mann for Vibramycin, which used visuals from the movie Fantastic Voyage to put the reader inside the oral cavity (or other disease sites). It sparked a series of ingenious pathogen viewpoint ads that ran for a number years.
Mann had studied journalism at Columbia University and worked on a newspaper for the New York City Youth Board before he entered the healthcare agency business at CIBA’s in-house agency in 1956. He was there seven years editing and writing the company publication, State of Mind—a magazine about psychiatry for non-psychiatrists. After time at the Robert A. Becker agency and the Rx unit of Ted Bates, he moved to Klemtner where, as creative director, he worked closely with Cline and Davis. Klemtner went through 2 upsetting ownership changes while they were there and they struck out on their own in 1984 with Pfizer project work on Sinequan. Other assignments came their way from Pfizer, and CDM grew to become one of the company’s major advertising agencies.
Mann’s journalistic background is credited by 2 of his colleagues as shaping his approach to pharmaceutical advertising and his creative style. Ed Wise, president and CEO of CDM, makes this observation: “His whole approach was journalistic. He would dive into the work, dive into the data…into the information. Then, he would emerge, sometime days later, with a fully conceived idea…sometimes with visuals…all put together. He was very private in the way he worked…but deep and journalistic in the way he did his research.”
Joshua Prince, chief creative officer at CDM, adds, “He had a writer’s and a reporter’s instinct. Every time Fred tackled a marketing problem, he believed there was a story to be told. He believed in the magic of narrative. It wasn’t enough to decorate information. I think he believed in [finding] a story that was worthwhile and was relevant to the clinicians who were prescribing the drugs. The lead, or the hook, was always in the headline. The content, what was communicated in the story, was the body copy. And the tagline was the summary of the idea. He did this very effectively in everything he wrote at the agency.”
Those who worked with Mann remember him for his gentlemanly manner, his kindness and mentoring of young employees, and his hosting and storytelling over lunch at his “regular” table at Smith & Wollensky’s. His basic politeness made him uncomfortable in rejecting work.
“He didn’t want to be the bad guy,” says Morgan Cline. Writers and art directors had to learn how they should interpret his responses to their ideas. If he said it was “good” that meant he was unimpressed. If he said he “loved it,” the idea could move on to a final review by Cline, Davis, and himself. It had to do with his extremely high standards.
“He had to be excited about the work,” explains Ed Wise. “It typified how Fred lives his life. He wants to be stimulated. He wants to be excited by the things around him and [in advertising] he had to feel an excitement in the work.”
Mann retired from CDM in 1993. He moved to Florida and then to Sonoma, California, where he lives now and is currently launching an independent, private high school that is expected to grow to 400 students—certainly an exciting endeavor. He has continued his charitable work with the Disabled Businessperson’s Association, with which he has been involved for 15 years, and serves on its board of directors.
James McFarland began his career in medical advertising as a comp artist in the bullpen at Sudler & Hennessey (S&H) in 1960. There he worked under the legendary Herb Lubalin. Over the years at S&H, he assisted and learned from a number of other outstanding design talents, such as Ernie Smith and Dick Jones. Eventually, McFarland became associate creative director/art at the agency.
When he joined with John Lally and Ron Pantello to open Lally McFarland & Pantello (LM&P) in 1980, he took with him a vision of a creative-oriented organization. Through the influence of his personality and his example, this direction was established at LM&P.
All advertising agencies pride themselves on their creative abilities. The constant challenge in a competitive market is how to structure and nurture the proper mix of copywriters and designers, and their relationship to account service/marketing, to produce ideas that attract an audience’s attention and motivate purchase. McFarland, in conjunction with his partners, succeeded so well that some 6 years after his retirement, his imprint—emphasis on the creative—can still be seen at the agency.
It is hard to separate McFarland’s personality from the policies at LM&P that promoted an emphasis on working, above all, for the very best creative message. Central to a productive creative environment is an openness to contribution from all levels. The source of an idea does not determine its value. McFarland operated on this principle out of an innate respect for others, as described by someone who knew him well: “He created an environment that fostered creativity. He was receptive to other people’s ideas. Things didn’t have to revolve around one person’s ideas, but the best idea in the room.” Simply put—it was a creative meritocracy.
Also helpful in maintaining a productive creative atmosphere is the leader’s style in saying “no” without inhibiting idea generation. McFarland, who is basically a shy, gentlemanly person, was extremely good at turning things down without offending the creator.
His long-time collaborator John Lally describes him this way: “Jim was the easiest and the toughest man to work with I ever saw. He was easy because he was very encouraging. He would never just say, ‘Oh, that’s a terrible idea.’ He’d always give it a chance…[and] never really yelled about it a lot. He’d say, ‘You know, that just isn’t grabbing me.’ But [he was also] the most demanding. If it wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t going out.”
Advertising is a collaborative process and McFarland, who was uncomfortable with confrontations, excelled in the give-and-take negotiations that arrive at workable solutions—just as long as his sense of design values had not been compromised. His greatest collaborative challenge, however, was as peacemaker between John Lally (known for his strong opinions) and Ron Pantello (an equally forceful personality).
As Pantello tells it, “John and I would get fussing about something…creative issues, never about money or power…and Jimmy was always there to calm everybody down and get us moving in the right direction. Jimmy was always there as the cement between the three of us. John and I couldn’t have done it without him.”
Beyond his collaborative spirit and abilities to elicit ideas from his staff and manage creative egos, McFarland built strong creative departments by the work he himself produced. He was a designer of superb taste and innovation who, not surprisingly, worked well with copywriters who had standards as high as his own. Together they created award-winning and sales-building programs.
At S&H, he was assigned the Parke-Davis and Pfizer brands. With John Lally, he did campaign after campaign for Ayerst’s Premarin. He also successfully worked on minor brands that, without field support, depended heavily on nonpersonal selling like journal advertising. It was on such a “me-too” brand that LM&P got its start.
The product was Entex LA, a parity cough-cold product marketed by Norwich Eaton. The LM&P partners got the opportunity to pitch the business, won the account, and set up shop. The creative energy they brought to Entex LA propelled it to the top of its class and made the agency’s reputation. Important products like Macrodantin followed, as did other major prescription drug assignments. When Procter & Gamble acquired Norwich Eaton, the agency had a client with the resources and the appreciation of quality advertising to fund sizable programs for healthcare and dental products. The agency had established itself on the basis of its creative credentials of which the working relationship between McFarland and Lally was the foundation.
McFarland retired in 1985, but is still active as a designer and illustrator. And, once again, he is in a productive collaborative relationship. This time the writer is his wife, with whom he is producing children’s books.
The innovations Joe McIntyre brought to medical advertising and to the success of Sieber & McIntyre were enough for prominence in the historical record, but the impression he made on our business was heightened and enriched by the force of his inimitable personality. Stories of his quick-witted quips, his straight-from-the-shoulder manner in dealing with clients coupled with his dedication to satisfying their needs, his prodigious entertaining, and, in general, his hard-driving salesmanship and management style have made him a legendary figure.
McIntyre began in the pharmaceutical business as a field representative for Upjohn. He left detailing for space sales with American Druggist and then, in 1955, moved to the agency side, becoming an account executive at Jordan Sieber Corbett in Chicago. Within 5 years, he had become a partner in the agency and, by 1963, had assumed leadership of the newly renamed Sieber & McIntyre.
The agency was animated by McIntyre’s energy and his willingness to experiment. He dropped the accepted method of agency compensation, commissions on the purchase of space and materials, in favor of a time-based fee system. This was an eye-opener for clients and competing agencies. To make the system work in the face of criticism from believers in the status quo, he ran S&M under tight control to track accurately time spent on client business. The ever-present time sheets that medical agency people fill out today stem, in large part, from McIntyre’s advocacy of the fee system.
With an appreciation for his years as a salesman of journal space and as a PR promotion for the agency, McIntyre created The Space Salesman of the Year Award in 1968. Winners were chosen by popular ballot and the prize, in addition to the industry’s recognition, was $500. In a time before extensive computer analysis and readership research, when the personal relationship of salespersons with agency media directors was important to selling journal pages, the contest became an anticipated industry event. It was so successful that it was continued on into the late ’80s by the agency and a comparable award is now administered by the Association of Medical Publications.
Sieber & McIntyre did not create client-sponsored publications, but McIntyre made this promotional method a major element in the media mix it recommended to its clients. S&M produced a number of these direct mail vehicles channeling funds that might normally go into medical journals into these company house organs. Needless to say, this redirection of spending into alternative media did not sit well with journal publishers, some of whom questioned the agency’s objectivity in its media buying. McIntyre, who was far from being intimidated by controversy, did not mind the criticism and countered with an agency policy that raised the issue of the objectivity of decisions on journal space based upon the salesman’s expense account. It was a rule at S&M that the agency’s account personnel and media buyers always “picked up the check” for lunch, dinner, or other entertaining. This arrangement was typical of McIntyre’s activist, aggressive style. He was a master at making an emphatic impression which would often startle, but which always contained a valid premise.
For someone who objected to the entertaining of his staff, McIntyre, interestingly, was the champion client entertainer of his day. For a number of years following the NWDA meeting, he would take some 25 couples—clients, publishers, and industry friends—on trips, usually to tropical settings. He was a dedicated golfer and hosted numerous client golf outings. His generosity on these occasions was exceptional, but they were also known for serious competition on the course. McIntyre was tireless.
It was said of him by a competitor, “That guy’s legs never hit the deck!”
McIntyre expected the same commitment from his staff. A former employee recalls, “You were on your toes all the time. You were intense…you drove an agenda all the time, and it was hard, gratifying work, but you better do a damn good job…because Joe believed in the client! And that was the key to it all.”
Another ad executive who worked closely with him provided this assessment of the man and his style: “He brought himself. This is a character we never had before and are never going to have again in the business. He was Joe. He was everything. He was fire…he was quick…very innovative…a tough guy…he fought back. But on top of that he was an entertainer…he was funny. And you never knew which one he was going to be when you ran into him…Clients loved him. Some clients hated him. He was all of that. But he built a very good business and changed the industry.”
McIntyre retired, after selling Sieber & McIntyre to Interpublic, in 1986.
In the ideal free market, entrepreneurs create the businesses needed for society’s economy to function. They are rewarded with a compensating share of the wealth they generate and are venerated for their financial success. But the philosophy of laissez-faire enterprise, at its best, carries with it the caveat that the rights of free commerce ought to include more than making money but also producing something of public value. The career of Lewis A. Miller shows that social benefit can spring from the entrepreneurial spirit and even be its animating force.
Miller graduated early from Princeton at 20 and began a career in journalism with stints at The Princeton Herald, and The Schenectady Union Star. At the age of 22, he showed his entrepreneurial bent by founding a small town paper in Glastonbury, Connecticut, The Glastonbury Citizen, which he later sold. He went on to editorial positions at The Newark Star Ledger and The New York Telegram & Sun. From there in 1960, he made a move that would greatly influence his future career when he entered the healthcare industry becoming executive editor of Medical Economics (ME). He left his mark on ME by instituting the hard-nosed newspaper discipline of firm deadlines and rapid editorial review, and establishing news bureaus in four cities. He also presided over the magazines transition from digest format to an A-sized magazine.
At ME, he met Gus Fink, who was research director (elected to the MAHF in 2006), and they teamed up to found Patient Care in 1966. Patient Care was a truly innovative medical journal. Its editorial premise rested on Fink’s experience in readership research of medical journals and Miller’s journalistic background and was written for primary care physicians. Its circulation of 100,000 was also different from the established mass-circulation publications (JAMA, ME, and Modern Medicine) that went to audiences approaching 200,000. Although limited to MDs who comprised just 50 percent of the medical audience, this group wrote 70 percent of pharmaceutical prescriptions. These two innovations established Patient Care as the first “mini-mass” medical journal, and advertisers immediately appreciated the efficiency of its circulation.
Important to Patient Care’s success was its new editorial approach. Carroll Dowden, who has worked with Miller for many years, describes Patient Care as “the first publication to be produced by lay editors taking material from physicians and making it clear, understandable, and actionable to GPs, internists, and DOs, in contrast to the scientific publications of the day…but bringing [scientific information] down to the everyday needs of the practicing physician.”
Patient Care’s approach has been described as the first shift in medical journal publishing from subjective clinical content to an objective view of treatment based on multiple, informed sources.
Patient Care editorial was fact driven, audience sensitive, employed an “easy-to-read” style, and was based on reporting the thinking of opinion leaders—elements that strongly reflected Miller’s journalistic background. It relied on such features as pro-and-con discussions at roundtables among specialists and generalists, 50-word “Express Stops” (every 700 words in bold text to move the reader through an article), treatment plans diagramed with algorithms, and flow charts on lab tests, diagnostic signs, etc. Response from MDs was enthusiastic. The publication became hugely successful and a fixture on journal advertising schedules.
Miller & Fink publishing went international with Patient Care and expanded into the new areas of continuing medical education (CME) and medical record systems. Patient Care eventually was purchased by the Medical Economics Company.
Having helped create a medical journal designed to encourage up-to-date patient treatment, it was logical for Miller to become more extensively involved in CME programs. Following a conference of medical, governmental, and pharmaceutical companies, sponsored by Miller & Fink in 1975, Miller was instrumental in organizing the Alliance for Continuing Medical Education. He went on to form the Global Alliance for Continuing Medical Education.
In 1988, Miller joined with Carroll Dowden to set up Dowden Health Media, which now consists of the medical journals OBG Management, The Journal of Family Practice, Current Psychiatry, and Mayo Clinic Proceedings; medical education companies; and a division that publishes newsletters for hospitals.
Miller is a respected figure in healthcare communications, greatly admired for his vision. Jon Bigelow, group vice president/general manager CMP Media, who was an intern at Patient Care says, “What is important to him is accomplishing the next new thing and bringing people along for the ride.”
He is known for his mentoring and development of young talent and his ability to put big ideas into practice. Warren Ross, a founder of KPR and a member of the MAHF, says, “Lew was one of the first to realize the potential of CME, both as a contribution to good medicine and a way for industry to enhance its reputation by sponsoring CME programs. He was the statesman of CME.”
Miller is also admired for what is perceived as the motivation behind his entrepreneurial drive. Dennis Wentz, who worked with him on CME, says of Miller, “He is so involved with life that he embraces it and his commitment is really to better care of patients. He published a book in 1979 called The Life You Save that has as its premise the patient has the right to know and the patient has the right to say no. It demonstrates his commitment to patient care and to helping doctors achieve the best patient care.”
Reinforcing this view of Miller, Warren Ross adds, “My perspective on him would be innovator and public citizen. There are lots of people who start commercial things with the sole objective of making money. Lew always had not only a high ethical standard of doing the right thing, but asking himself how they could best be made to serve public health.”
Carroll Dowden adds, “He is quite committed to healthcare. Its important to him for what it does for society, what it does for patients. He is proud of the work he has done…the good that has come from his editorial work and from his work as a business man in the field of medicine.”
Further, Dowden says of Miller, “When you think about Lew Miller and what makes him go, the first thing that comes to my mind is something he has said to me from time to time. What he wants to do is celebrate life. That attitude permeates Lew…defines him. He finds that he is able to celebrate life through his work.”
Putting the Client and People First
Albert G. “Al” Nickel was well known in our industry as the consummate client service professional. However, his greatest contribution was building a great agency through a culture that cultivated and nurtured people’s potential.
After graduating from college, Al served in The United States Air Force, ultimately being promoted to the rank of Captain in The Air Force Reserves. He began his business career with Pfizer, Inc. as a market research analyst. During his time at Pfizer, he spent time as a professional sales representative, marketing research manager, assistant product manager, and product manager, learning the industry and the skills that would serve him well in the years to follow.
In order to gain international experience, he went to USV International as a product manager, integrating the marketing efforts of five newly acquired subsidiary operations in five different countries, as well as coordinating the efforts of multiple licensees.
Lured by the challenge of an advertising career, Al joined the Deltakos Division of J. Walter Thompson as an account executive. After working on the Lilly and J&J Ethicon accounts as an account supervisor, he moved to the healthcare advertising subsidiary of Young & Rubicam, Inc., Sudler & Hennessey.
His initial assignments at S&H were products from the Roerig and Pfizer Laboratories Divisions of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. With a promotion to vice president, his responsibilities were expanded to include all the marketed products for Stuart Pharmaceuticals, medical promotion for General Foods’ Sanka Coffee, and medical advertising and promotion consultation for many products and programs for the General Foods Corporation. In addition to handling all marketed Stuart products, he helped launch two new ones, and achieved superior sales results. As a group account supervisor, he also assumed responsibility for McNeil Laboratories, with a team of account supervisors reporting to him. With his continuing efforts on the Stuart, General Foods, and McNeil accounts, his was elevated to senior vice president in December 1977.
Pursuing the opportunity to participate in the ownership of a healthcare communications agency, Al became a founding principal of Dorritie & Lyons, Inc. in 1979. In 1990 the firm recognized his participation and contributions with the addition of his name to become Dorritie Lyons & Nickel, Inc. In 1991, with his responsibilities expanded, he was named president, chief operating officer. In 1994, the firm became part of Omnicom Group Inc., and merged with Lavey Wolfe & Swift, Inc. to form Lyons Lavey Nickel Swift, Inc. with Al as president, chief operating officer. With Al at the helm, LLNS launched some of our industry’s most iconic brands, including Celebrex, Aricept, and Zoloft.
His responsibilities broadened further and he was named president, CEO of the HMC Group within Omnicom in 1999 and chairman and CEO of LLNS in 2000. In 2002 he became co-chairman of TBWA WorldHealth, which encompassed 20 global professional healthcare communications agencies. In 2008, Al retired.
In addition to his agency work, Al was a member of a number of industry and business organizations such as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (First Associate Member of The Board of Directors from 1994 – 1996), The Healthcare Marketing & Communications Council (Board from 1994 through 1996), Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, Board of Directors of the American Council on Science and Health, Medical Advertising Hall of Fame Executive Committee, AAAA’s Medical Advertising Agency Association, and the Coalition for Healthcare Communications.
Al is also active in many community/service/non-profit organizations. He is serving, or has served, as a trustee/board member for Cancer Care, The Hole-In-The-Wall Gang Camp Fund Development, The Wilton Family YMCA, Washington & Jefferson College, Dominican College, The Five Town Community Fund of the Fairfield County Foundation, Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County, The Eugene O’Neill Theater Development, Wilton High School Long-Range Planning Committee and the Wilton Lacrosse Association.
In recent conversations with two of Al’s previous clients, Karen Katen and Greg Duncan, they observed that he never showed up at a client without something to contribute. He always went beyond what his clients expected and brought something special, from the idea that launched Zyrtec over the counter to the creation of truly global campaigns through the TBWA World Health Network that he helped to form.
Despite his business success, Al’s key contribution to our industry was seeing the value of a great culture. The culture that Al created at LLNS recognized and maximized the talent of its people and created unprecedented business results. Employees and clients that Al worked with remain loyal to LLNS to this day, and the culture that he created stands the test of time. With Al, people and clients always came first.
Hal O’Neill’s life reads like a Horatio Alger rags-to-riches story. It began in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen and ended in the affluent suburbs of New Jersey and, in the course of that journey, Hal played a pioneering role in the use of direct mail by the pharmaceutical industry.
O’Neill was born and raised in Manhattan’s West 40s. Since his family could not afford to send him to college, he opted for the next best thing, applying to Stuyvesant High School, one of the city’s elite schools for academically gifted students. He was accepted, but family circumstances required that he work and he took a part-time job which was to have long-term significance. He ran an addressograph machine nights and weekends for Fisher-Stevens, a direct mail company where his half-brother, Tom Clark, was general manager. When he graduated from Stuyvesant in 1927, it was a logical step to continue full-time with F-S.
Based on his past experience with the firm, he was assigned to getting out the mail—a crucial phase in direct mail marketing. He went to work with a will and soon had established a number of production records. Then, came a pivotal promotion to the sales department, a job ideally suited for O’Neill’s abilities and personality. With hard work and enthusiasm, laced with Irish charm and street smarts, O’Neill was soon one of the industry’s top salesmen.
As someone who knew the direct mail business from the ground up, O’Neill was well equipped to help the pharmaceutical industry when, after WWII, companies began to spend heavily on direct mail in their promotional programs to physicians. At that time, companies counted their sales representatives in the hundreds and had only a handful of medical journals in which to advertise. Moreover, the MD audience was largely general practitioners who treated a broad range of medical conditions. This made for a “target audience” of such size that it could not be adequately covered quickly or routinely by personal selling. The result: direct mail became a “mass” medium, essential to a product’s launch, providing announcement mailers, samples, and in-depth product monographs in advance of sales calls; then, as the campaign continued, reprints of clinical papers, promotional brochures, and reminder mailings often two to three a week for extended periods.
As direct mail experienced dramatic growth, O’Neill and Clark saw an opportunity for their own company to service the Rx industry’s needs. They formed Clark-O’Neill in 1952 and it became one of the leading firms in the field. Two of O’Neill’s sons, John and Roger, joined the firm after college and took over the day-to-day operations in the 1970s. The original addressing and mailing functions gave way to computerization. Clark-O’Neill was the first company to offer manufacturers data-based sales and marketing (call reporting) services and the company experienced a sixfold measure of growth by the mid-1980s.
Hal turned more and more of the business over to his sons, but continued with industry and social activities (for a number of years he was responsible for the PAC Christmas Party) and his informal job-matching service for Rx marketers.
O’Neill was the epitome of a leader of a promotional service company in medical advertising’s “Golden Age” of the 1950s-1960s. He was in command of the details and tactics of his medium, an insider on business developments and the movement of people within the industry, a superb host who enjoyed entertaining, and most importantly a genuine friend to innumerable company executives, product managers, agency chiefs, account executives, and media directors throughout the industry who were always pleased to spend time with him because of the warmth of his personality.
Hal passed away in 1984 at the age of 74.
Like many other agency principals in medical advertising, Ron Pantello “carried the bag.” Ron’s first stint in the pharmaceutical business was at USV Laboratories, followed by an account services position at Sudler & Hennessey. Ron was profoundly influenced by MAHF Hall of Famer Matt Hennessey and patterned himself after the man he always referred to as “Mr. Hennessey.”
In 1980, Ron left Sudler & Hennessey along with copy guru John Lally and art director Jim McFarland to found Lally, McFarland and Pantello (LM&P)-now Euro RSCG Life LM&P. In 1990, LM&P became part of the Euro RSCG global network, and Ron began a new phase of his career. Ron led the formation of the global Euro RSCG Life network of agencies, retiring as Chairman in 2007 at which time ERL was the fifth-largest network of its kind. In keeping with his personal philosophy, Ron’s integrity and leadership fostered a culture and structure that for the first time in the industry offered clients a media-neutral, single P&L, free of any internal bias or influence.
Known as “Coach” by many of his employees, Ron often walked through the agency, stopping to talk with staffers about their families, their work, and their lives. He was interested in and part of their professional and personal lives. Over and over again in his career, he demonstrated himself to be a true “people person.” His interest in and appreciation of people was beautifully illustrated in the way he treated his employees. As he often said of LM&P, “Our agency’s most important assets go up and down the elevator every day.” Ron was not afraid to stand up for his people, even to clients. He simply would not tolerate disrespectful treatment of his employees. As a result of the culture that Ron and his partners created at LM&P, a surprising number of people who left returned sooner or later.
Ron was always among the first to lead and serve industry trade associations. Throughout his long and distinguished career, he supported, among others, The Coalition for Healthcare Communication, the Pharmaceutical Advertising Council (which later evolved to the Healthcare Communication & Marketing Association), and The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, for whom Ron served as Representative for Associate Members. In the latter role, Ron was instrumental in the formulation of PhRMA’s self-regulation codes.
New business is the sustaining source of growth for advertising agencies and communications companies, and this was true for the agency Ron founded and the large network he chaired later in his career. Early on, Ron began a practice of making a charitable contribution each and every time the agency won a new business pitch. A different local or regional charity was selected each time – without press releases or even internal announcement. This practice was in keeping with Ron’s philosophy of sharing the benefits of good fortune. Indeed, for Ron, charity began at home. Before the advent of 401Ks, many of LM&P’s employees bought their first home thanks to a loan approved by Ron. And, during lean periods early in the agency’s life, Ron and the other partners on more than one occasion withheld their own bonuses in order to give the employees more substantial ones.
Ron loved being an ad man; he was loyal to and proud of his industry and the work it does. He believed that our industry’s icons deserved being remembered and honored. Furthermore, he was convinced that the younger people coming up need a sense of their industry’s history and the people who built it. In 1996, he put his beliefs into action, founding the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame and serving as its chairperson. Among the first to be inducted was Ron’s mentor, “Mr. Hennessey.”
Importantly, Ron is an icon of integrity that deserves to shine as a beacon for those who will follow in his footsteps. It would be difficult to find someone more deserving of an honored place among the industry leaders represented in the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame.
The induction of Clifford A. Parish into the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame marks the first time a pharmaceutical company executive has been elected to “The Hall.” Appropriately, Parish’s position at Burroughs-Wellcome (BW) was that of “advertising manager” or its equivalent in organizational terms. This job description no longer exists at Rx companies with the significance it had from the 1950s to the 1970s, before the product manager system became the model in pharmaceutical marketing.
Parish’s election is well deserved based on his tenure as an ad manager long after the position had been phased out of the industry. Much more important than his longevity were his talents in a job that was a demanding and powerful position. After WWII, when pharmaceutical companies adopted more extensive marketing for the breakthrough drugs that were revolutionizing medicine, advertising and promotional programs were concentrated with the ad manager. The person holding this position directly supervised the important basics of Rx promotion—professional advertising and sales force materials—and also had a strong say in such communication activities as public relations, medical education, patient literature, and convention programs.
This was an expansive, multi-tasked assignment, and ad managers succeeded if they could handle the workload organizationally, had an ear for innovation, and, most importantly, the judgment to choose correctly from the range of diverse ideas they were called upon to evaluate. If they had these skills, they could become extremely powerful within their organizations because they were at the control center of their companies’ promotional programs.
Parish had these necessary qualities as well as a personality that reinforced his status and ability to do the job. He had a pervasive influence throughout his company, typical of the reach of the ad manager position.
Phil Brady, who worked with him at BW and also at one of his agencies, recalls, “He was director of advertising but a lot more than that. He was an astute marketing expert, a strategist. He understood CME and public relations. There wasn’t a part of that organization—from research to development—that Cliff didn’t have a pulse on, and he could put it all together. He knew how to make things happen.”
He also brought new ideas to Rx promotion. Under Parish’s direction, BW was one of the first to employ a celebrity spokesperson in a pharmaceutical company’s advertising campaign. NASA had sent BW’s Actifed with astronauts on space flights, and Parish secured the astronaut Wally Shirra to appear at BW booths at medical conventions, generating long lines to meet the hero. Parish also was early in recognizing the potential for PBS sponsorship for corporate programs and linked BW with a medical education series.
With so much responsibility, ad managers had to mobilize those around them to handle their workload, and Parish was an outstanding motivator.
Ron Souza, who was with a BW agency, explains, “Cliff was so bright and so demanding in a genteel way that you wanted to work with him. You wanted to not disappoint him. He had an unu sual enthusiasm for what he was doing and its importance. That just rubbed off on everybody. We wanted to satisfy him.”
Parish’s personality and management approach made an impression on a generation of BW employees, the staffs of his advertising agencies, and with industry people. He was known as someone who did not flaunt his power, but who used it diplomatically.
Tony DiRollo, a veteran publication representative, says of him, “When I think of Cliff, I think about his humanity to everyone. He treated everyone with respect and dignity.”
Accordingly, he was known as the consummate gentleman among ad managers. Parish liked the entertainment side of the advertising business, but he reciprocated in kind by inviting suppliers to his home in Raleigh. He is well remembered for his sartorial style.
Says DiRollo, “He wore the greatest ties I’ve ever seen on any man in the industry, and his sports jackets used to be unique.”
“Cliff had a presence,” comments Souza. “He would walk into a room, he would be nattily dressed, with his crew cut, his tan, and when he walked in, you’d look up and say, ‘There’s someone with substance, there’s somebody that you really wanted to know.'”
Parish was extremely active in trade associations and on the boards of a number of medical foundations. For a number of years he represented the Rx industry on the board of the Business Publications Audit of Circulation (BPA), where he worked to raise auditing standards. He served in these capacities, according to Brady, as an ambassador for the industry.
Parish retired in 1987 after 39 years with Burroughs-Wellcome.
He represents a class of pharmaceutical company advertising executives who have passed beyond the memory of today’s ad agency executives. Parish’s election calls attention to the fact that the legendary agency names that the MAHF has honored—Sackler, Sudler, Hennessey, Klemtner, Phibbs, Kallir, and Corbett, for example—had their counterparts in the ad managers at companies like CIBA, Warner Chilcott, Lederle, Ayerst, Searle, McNeil, Parke-Davis, and Upjohn. The kind of judgment and promotional instinct that Parish had was also present at “the clients” who bought the ideas, funded the programs, and were essential collaborators in the creation of today’s medical advertising.
During his career in the pharmaceutical industry, Marshall Paul produced and promoted a significant body of information derived from primary promotion research that supports the concept that the creation and implementation of pharmaceutical promotion is as much a science as it is an art. The results of his efforts make it clear that it is possible to cost-effectively manage the process. By providing proof of what, where, when, how, and why pharmaceutical promotion works as part of the overall marketing process, Marshall helped companies and their agencies justify, create, and use properly funded advertising to leverage their detailing efforts and to maximize the return on their investment in promotion.
Marshall worked closely with agencies to help guide their development of efficiently designed advertising that was pre-tested and appropriately placed. He also helped publishers provide the cost-effective exposure opportunities needed to communicate key messages, and led the development of Ad-Chek®, a landmark pharmaceutical advertising research study that provided proof of journal readership in general as well as the value of various ad positions within publications.
Marshall spent fifty years in pharmaceutical marketing and related research activities, on both the manufacturer/marketer and the service sides of the business. He worked as a Market Research Analyst for Merck (1963-65), served as Director of Market Research/VP Long-Range Planning/President of the Communications Division for IMS (1965-82), became co-owner of Healthcare Communications, Inc. (HCI) in 1982 with Mahesh Naithani, and eventually became its President. When HCI was sold to ACNielsen in 1997, Marshall served as President of ACNielsen/HCI through 2010.
In fulfilling the stated vision of HCI when it was created in 1982, Marshall led the company’s efforts to develop a promotion research model to serve the agency, manufacturing, and service sides of the pharmaceutical marketing industry. The beginning was the successful revival of the Media-Chek® journal readership audit which provided a basis for future HCI product launches. This was followed by the launch of Postest,® a syndicated study designed specifically to measure pharmaceutical promotion campaign awareness and product recall – as well as message retention, believability and relevance to the target audience. This program was followed by CTS-2000, which documented sales response to pharmaceutical promotion (ROPI…Return on Promotional Investment). These two services combined to provide rich data bases from which norms were established by therapeutic class, type of product, and budget levels.
The next step was the creation of a planning tool that utilized the elements of Media-Chek, the Non-Journal Media Audit, JAR (the only journal spending audit at the ad unit level), Postest, and CTS-2000, and incorporated a new concept — the “Relative Value of Exposures”–to build a Promotion Planning Model. This model determines how much to spend in pharmaceutical marketing, as well as where to spend it most efficiently.
When HCI was sold to ACNielsen in 1997, Marshall served as the president of the newly created ACNielsen/HCI organization. In this role, he continued to promote the programs developed by HCI, and expanded offerings.
Aside from proving that good advertising increases sales, Marshall’s most important contribution is that leveraging is at the heart of good marketing practices. It is the ability to use less expensive forms of promotion to magnify the effect of the more costly forms, thereby driving the potential for positive Return on Promotional Investment. Further, his work showed that the norms generated by collecting, analyzing, and applying attitudinal response data from more than 8,100 promotional campaigns provided convincing proof of how pharmaceutical advertising works. This, in turn, led to a number of important firsts: documentation that there is direct correlation among ad spending, campaign awareness, product recall, and message retention, by therapeutic class, enabling the establishment of measurable advertising objectives; documentation of the leveraging effect of sales aid usage and how it can magnify the impact of a sales call; documentation that demonstrates how the use of multiple media channels improves response, including the inclusion of digital media.
Further, as the direct result of collecting both attitudinal and behavioral data on 162,000 physicians covering 87 campaigns, Marshall’s work documented that print can increase return on investment from detailing 72% of the time, and also showed that return on investment for effective campaigns varies significantly, depending on product age and type.
Most importantly, a prospective, experimentally designed study confirmed the above findings and further demonstrated that a successfully pretested advertising campaign raised campaign awareness, product recall, message retention, detailing awareness, first choice therapy, and new prescriptions in direct response to three levels of exposure.
During his career, Marshall provided the crucial information that allowed marketers to more efficiently allocate their funds and efforts, and communicate more effectively with their audience.
Strict scientific standards in pharmaceutical advertising were not widely adhered to in the early 20th century. The requirement that claims be supported by objective clinical and laboratory research resulted from a steady advancement in medical knowledge. But as it is with all evolutionary processes, certain persons were important in establishing the scientific model in medical advertising. Such a person was Harry C. Phibbs.
Looking back over our history, we can identify Phibbs as the first advertising executive to found an agency devoted to the creation of advertising that drew upon a product’s technical and clinical literature rather than following the promotional convention of the day to exaggerate a product’s benefits and to concoct imaginary virtues.
Phibbs brought this “ethical” approach to the business in 1921 when he started Harry C. Phibbs Advertising Co. with himself as the sole employee, $200 in the bank, and his wife as his secretary. His innovation was a rigorous scientific standard and also a concentration on prescription drugs. On the strength of these two qualities, he can be identified as the first in our field—the forerunner who laid the foundations for today’s specialized medical advertising agencies.
He opened his agency in Chicago and the geography was very important. The American Medical Association had its headquarters in Chicago, as it does today. Phibbs was helped greatly by an officer of the AMA, Dr. Morris Fishbein, who was a personal friend. The AMA, and Fishbein in particular as an editor of JAMA, had been waging a campaign against the specious patent medicines of the period.
The AMA had established a Council on Drugs, which ruled on which products could be advertised in its publications. It also had a system of copy clearance on the ads themselves. The job of dealing with the mass of questionable and often fraudulent advertising submitted to the AMA was daunting.
Fishbein, according to Phibbs’ son Brendon, came to his father with a proposition: “Harry, why don’t you start a professional medical ad agency that will bring us stuff we can believe and you’ll screen all of this for us?”
For Phibbs, who had a background in “ethical drugs” and advertising, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity—just the chance he had been looking for when he had left Ireland for America.
Phibbs was from Dublin, where his family had once been part of the landed aristocracy (a section of the city is named Phibbsborough from a royal land grant). The Phibbses had fallen on hard times and Harry led a rough and tumble boyhood until a stern uncle set him on a different path. He became part of the intellectual fervor of the city, becoming a friend of Joyce and Yeats and a member of the famous Abbey Theatre group. But he felt Ireland was not for him and left for America, landing in Newfoundland in the depths of winter, virtually penniless. He put his artistic talent to work as a designer of stained glass windows, then, moved to Montreal where he worked as a stage manager, newspaperman, attempted to join the Mounties, and finally settled into a job as a sales representative for Burroughs Wellcome. The company transferred him to New York, where he joined the state’s 69th Infantry Regiment but, because he was married with two children, he missed going overseas in WWI, much to his disappointment.
Then, furthering his involvement in the drug business, he took a position with Vick Chemical Co. as the manager of its Greensboro, NC, manufacturing plant. His next stop was Chicago, where he was working for an ad agency when Fishbein approached him with the suggestion for his own agency and an offer of help with clients.
Phibbs started his agency as a counterweight to what he considered the “dishonest” element in healthcare advertising and throughout his career maintained a scrupulous scientific level in the work he produced and in the products he would accept. His sons Brendon and Roderic remember him coming home incensed with what he saw as objectionable advertising and manufacturers he felt were endangering the health of the public.
He once told a young copywriter, “You are not writing advertising. You are saving lives!”
His agency prospered and its standards and organization (for example, Phibbs had physicians on staff) greatly influenced the agencies that were to follow.
After so much early moving about, Phibbs put down deep roots in Chicago. He had a lifelong interest in photography and was active with the Chicago Camera Club, as well as the Businessmen’s Art Club and the Adventurers’ Club of Chicago. He greatly preferred Chicago and the American West to the East and, particularly, New York City, which he considered “too European.” Nevertheless, he had clients in New York, and to service them, he kept an apartment in Manhattan and for many years spent 1 week a month in the city tending to business and also enjoying its restaurants, theater, and museums.
He led an adventurous youth, was a successful businessman in a field in which he could exercise his interest in art and, at the same time, make a social contribution, and he took considerable pride in his two sons who, undoubtedly influenced by exposure to their father’s world, became eminent physicians—Brendon, a cardiologist and Roderic, a pediatrician.
Harry C. Phibbs died at 75 years of age in 1960. His agency was acquired by another Chicago agency, Frank J. Corbett, in 1970.
Leading the Way
Dr. Dorothy Philips has always led the way, in her education, in her work, and in her contributions to industry and community. Her 40-year health care industry career had its roots in academia. After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Wellesley College, she attended NYU’s Stern School of Business, one of just two women in the class, and received an MBA. Upon the recommendation of a professor who recognized her abilities and drive, she pursued a Ph.D. with a grant from the Ford Foundation. While doing research on her dissertation, which focused on new methods for communication in the pharmaceutical industry, she met James Barnum, M.D., who had created the Deltakos Division of J. Walter Thompson. Impressed by her, Barnum offered her a position with Deltakos, and she began her career in medical advertising.
Philips rose rapidly to become senior vice president at Deltakos. When Barnum left to form his own agency, Barnum Communications, Deltakos named her head of marketing services. Eventually, she left Deltakos and joined Barnum at his new firm, helping build it into a major force in the healthcare advertising arena. Barnum named her president and chief operating officer of Barnum Communications, making her the first female president of a major agency at a time when the healthcare advertising industry was male-dominated. She also served as board member, executive vice president, and senior vice president of the Health Industries Group with responsibilities for development of client services and company administration. With her guidance, Barnum continued its growth, building a reputation for innovation and strategic thinking.
After Barnum’s death, Philips decided it was the right time to strike out on her own, and started Philips Healthcare Communications, leading the agency for more than 20 years until her retirement.
Over her 40-year career in advertising and medical communications, Philips has been the driving force behind the creation and execution of a series of innovative advertising and other strategic marketing communication programs for pharmaceuticals, vaccines, devices, healthcare products, and institutional clients. She has advised her clients on marketing strategies and created advertising for the introduction, re-introduction, and re-positioning of a series of products that established them as leaders in their market/segment.
A few of her more notable accomplishments are:
While President/Account Supervisor at Barnum, and well before the advent of DTC, she developed innovative PR programs for Boehringer Mannheim’s diagnostic products to reach physicians and consumers to educate them about the company’s first product for consumer testing of blood sugar. The product became the market leader for years and changed the practice of diabetes patient monitoring.
With her strategic and creative direction, Philips Healthcare developed creative advertising for Glaxo Hong Kong for the re-introduction of Zantac into the Hong Kong market, helping turn it into the market leader.
Under her leadership, Philips Healthcare developed advertising and collateral educational materials to help establish SmithKline Beecham’s Vaccine Business and the launch of the company’s first vaccine in the U.S., Engerix-B, which became the market leader, growing to over $100m in annual sales. Subsequently, she developed similar successful communications for Havrix-A and other SB vaccines. Vaccines have become one of the four pillars of growth for SB (now GSK).
Over her lengthy career, Philips has established an impressive list of accomplishments. Not only is she one of the earliest female leaders in the medical advertising industry, breaking ground for others to follow, but – gender aside – she established a track record of successful leadership as President of two agencies. She has mentored many women who, today, work in senior positions in agencies, pharma companies, and media. She is currently a consultant for the National Executive Service Corps, a group that provides management-consulting services for non-profit organizations.
Dr. Dorothy Philips is currently an active board member of Lighthouse International, an organization serving the needs of people who are blind or have low vision. In 2010, she was awarded Winifred and Edith Holt Award for distinguished volunteer service. She is also currently the communications chair of the Business Leadership Council of Wellesley College and has served on the board of the Wellesley Centers for Women. She served for many years as one of the earliest members on the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) Advisory Board.
Always an innovator and groundbreaker, Dr. Dorothy Philips now takes her place as a member of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame.
As a teenager, Jerry Philips, showed artistic talent as a cartoonist. However, influenced by his family, his college education was in biology at NYU, where he earned a BS. In the army during WWII, he had a chance to develop his cartooning and eventually he turned to a career in art, attending Cooper Union, as have so many pharmaceutical industry art directors.
On entering the job market, he was hired by the Frohlich agency and then moved to another major Rx agency, McAdams, where he met John Kallir—the leader on the Roche account. They worked on Roche’s broad product line—Romilar, Noludar, and Gantricin, for example—and eventually on the mega-brand Librium. Kallir left McAdams and, after a brief interval, asked Philips and Warren Ross, who had also been at McAdams, to join him to form Kallir Philips Ross (now KPR) in 1961.
The three were a classic agency partnership with a strong creative orientation: Kallir, a copywriter, who had taken on a management role; Ross, an account person, but with a writing background; and Philips providing the art and design resource. The agency grew to become one of the leading US pharmaceutical advertising agencies.
Philips art direction was central to 3 of the agencies signature campaigns. Warren Ross describes the program that built McNeil’s Tylenol from a minor, pediatric fever drug into the non-Rx, analgesic leader: “The headline was, ‘Tylenol or aspirin? Which analgesic for the patient with…’ followed by a specific indication. Jerry did an all-type ad, which was very unusual, and most people would say, ‘That’s the most boring thing in the world.’ It set the stage for the medical approach to promoting Tylenol and that was the key.”
Philips had understood that reasoned argumentation for Tylenol, an appeal to MDs’ thoughtfulness about the side effects of aspirin in specific conditions, needed a soft sell. The campaign ran for years and slowly built Tylenol into an astounding marketing success based on MD recommendations.
As low key as was the Tylenol program, the Haldol campaign used a contemporary design approach by which Philips created a visual that would stress Haldol’s effectiveness and its patient benefit. Haldol is a tranquilizer suitable for patients with major psychiatric conditions.
John Kallir recalls the icon Philips created for the McNeil product: “Jerry, of course, participated in all the conferences on Haldol, and out of this talking to investigators and marketing people, he developed the launch ad that consisted of a series, sort of a square array of images, of a face that you can’t recognize at first. It gradually becomes a face. It’s blurred and fragmentary and then gradually the face appears. And that symbolized the reintegration of the personality.”
The progression of the patients from their troubled mental states had been clearly presented with the message that Haldol would enhance the treatment process. Once again Philips had caught the product’s essence and used graphics to state the drug’s promise.
Lastly, the product graphic for Upjohn’s Motrin was an example of Philips’ creative range. In the introductory campaign, the identifying visual was the bones of a knee rendered in white Styrofoam seen up close with rays of light bursting from the joint to represent the inflammation of arthritis. The product icon quickly communicated the pain and discomfort of the condition. Motrin became the benchmark NSAID and a success story for KPR.
Philips created hundreds of promotional programs over the years. Worthy of note is his lighthearted campaign for McNeil’s muscle relaxant Parafon 40 that speaks to his cartoonist inclination; it was one of the first major programs KPR did for McNeil. The visuals in the long-running campaign were photos of persons with limited mobility who, thanks to Parafon 40, gained freedom of motion. The creative spark was in the humor of the before-and-after situations—an unhappy track official unable start a race and then, smiling, his arm raised firing his pistol, or a man unable to turn toward an attractive woman and then free to watch her go by. All those who recall Philips’ work remark on his ability to apply his impressive artistic talent to the promotional situation.
Says Ross, “He was a great art director…perhaps unique [with] a great understanding of the message that the advertising was trying to communicate. He didn’t look for visualization to swipe, or what’s now being done on computer…if there was a word in the headline [and] whether there was a picture of that. He dug into the context and came up with layouts and conceptual visualizations that reinforced the message.”
Further, on Philips ability and his place in medical advertising, Frank Hughes has this perspective: “When you look at Jerry’s book today, it looks as modern as it did when it was created half a century ago. And that’s astonishing. I think he was one of the central figures in art direction of that time. The thing that is so extraordinary about all those art directors [in] a golden age of art direction was that what they did in medical advertising influenced consumer advertising. The work that was done in the 1950s and 1960s was so good that it has never been surpassed, and Jerry was in the vanguard of all that. His work, each piece, is something to look at and learn from.”
Philips suffered a stroke in 1987 that limited his use of his right arm. Warren Ross reports that Philips “went out and took painting lessons with his left hand…that was the extent of his devotion to his art…to his craft.”
Over her career, Barbara Pritchard has made extraordinary contributions to our industry; willingly sharing her talents, experience, and expertise with others. She brings an extraordinary set of skills to everything that she does. She is a mentor and leader who motivates teamwork in others; she innovates, inspires, and contributes without dominating. Her poise and style in contributing her best to everything creates an environment that has always drawn the very best from her colleagues.
At the Medical Economics Company Barbara quickly earned a reputation as a bright, hard-working professional. She began as a journal editor, then moved on to publisher, group publisher, VP, Senior VP of clinical journals and special projects, and Executive Vice President. She also served as head of strategic planning for the company and was in charge of international operations.
After more than 20 years at Medical Economics, Barbara moved to Advanstar, where she spent several years as General Manager. In this role, she developed result-driven strategies by making changes that allowed the organization to expand, a constant theme in her career.
Barbara then founded her own company, The Pritchard Group, consulting for a wide variety of clients. She also focused on international medical education working with a number of organizations in a variety of roles, including Director of US Operations for the InterAlliance Group of Companies in Latin America and Spain; Director of US Operations for Aramuc India Ltd., one of the largest medical communications companies in South Asia; and Principal of Wentz/Miller, an international strategy consulting company.
Despite a demanding career, Barbara has always found time to devote to industry causes and organizations. The list includes:
Global President of the HBA in 2005 and many years after as a non-voting member of the Global Board. She served the HBA as 2nd VP, 1st VP, President Elect, two terms as Immediate Past President, Chair of the Chapter/Affiliate Mentors, and has been Mentor (a concept she created) for six of the chapters/affiliates. Among her numerous HBA contributions, Barbara developed the concept for what became the E.D.G.E. Benchmarking Initiative; led a team that reimagined the chapter structure resulting in the creation of HBA affiliate chapters; and was charged with hiring HBAs first full-time CEO. Barbara’s contributions have given life, breadth, and depth to the message and vision of the HBA, the foundation and framework that she built allowed HBA to expand to the world’s largest organization of professional women and will be felt for many years to come.
Past Chair of the International Strategies Committee for the Alliance for Continuing Medical Education.
Past-president of AMP, the Association of Medical Publishers, where she worked to broaden the voice of the organization to be more in touch with the times and more customer focused.
Past-president of HMCC, Healthcare Marketing Communications Council, where she made a number of significant changes to broaden and expand the organization and received the President’s Award.
Barbara’s passion for mentoring women does not stop with the HBA. She’s also a member of the Prison Visitation and Support organization (PVS), where she visits monthly with women prisoners at the Danbury, CT Federal Correctional Institute. Barbara also serves on the Advisory Board of the Brookdale Center of Aging, part of Hunter College in New York.
Barbara is not just defined by her professional accomplishments; she is also a role model to many who know her. She has met tough challenges, made some difficult choices, and faced changes, taking charge with a positive attitude.
The industry has benefited greatly from Barbara’s generous contributions of time and effort to a wide array of tasks and causes. And countless individuals have been helped by her advice and mentoring.
She joins a small, select group to be given the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame’s Service to Industry Award.
Rolf Rosenthal came to the US from Germany when he was 8 years old. His family lived in Cleveland for a time and then moved to New York where Rolf went to Brooklyn Tech, Queens College, and, for graduate work in literature, Columbia. After 2 years of service in the Army during the Korean War, he continued his education in Europe at universities in Vienna and Innsbruck.
Returning to the US, he broke into advertising as a “copy cub” with a small consumer agency. In 2 years he was copy chief. Answering a blind ad for a copywriter, he was interviewed at McAdams and hired, entering the world of medical advertising. He moved up to senior copywriter and then switched to account work. After 13 years at McAdams, he left to found Rolf Werner Rosenthal Advertising (RWR) in 1970.
Rosenthal’s founding account was Burroughs Wellcome’s Empirin; other clients followed and, over the years, the agency created important promotional programs for such products as Pipracil (Lederle), Cardizem (Marion), Atrovent (Boehringer Ingelheim), and BW’s Septra and the antiretrovirals, Zovirax and Retrovir (AZT).
Contributing to RWR’s success was the agency environment Rosenthal created to encourage contributions from all employee levels. He sought input on the agency’s work from everyone in the organization and set up mechanisms to foster group dynamics. Employees from secretaries to group supervisors were incentivized. The working atmosphere at RWR is fondly remembered by those who worked there.
Beyond management innovations, Rosenthal was the first medical agency to conduct ongoing advertising, direct mail, and PR programs promoting itself. Rosenthal also abandoned the practice of giving clients expensive gifts at the holidays and, instead, made contributions to the Save the Children Fund. He, personally, gave his time to the Allergy Foundation and the Thomas A. Dooley Foundation/Intermed USA program.
Rosenthal retired in 1989.
Readers of Medical Marketing & Media (MM&M) are familiar with the name Warren Ross. He has been the editor of MM&M since 1990. Those with longevity in medical advertising may also know that the “R” in KPR stands for his name in partnership with the other founders, John Kallir and Jerry Philips. Kallir Philips Ross was a highly successful advertising agency and, in 1990, was the largest in the field. He has had a career of considerable depth; a career that has earned him induction into “The Hall.”
Warren’s co-founding of KPR alone would qualify him for consideration in the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame, but one particular accomplishment assured his election. As with the others inducted in 2001, he was an instrument of change, creating a marketing approach that then became an accepted industry standard.
KPR had been in business only a few years when, in 1964, its client, McNeil, impressed by KPR’s work on another brand, gave it the Tylenol assignment. The drug, acetaminophen, which was even older than aspirin, had been sold as a pediatric product for fever. McNeil was aiming for adult use, but had only limited funds for promotion—$100,000 annually for expansion into this new market.
Under Ross’ direction, KPR responded with a medically oriented journal and direct mail program to physicians for patients for whom aspirin could be undesirable or even hazardous. The message, which drew heavily from the medical literature, recognized that MDs were not fully aware of the risks associated with aspirin. It took on an educational objective along with building brand awareness. Media and ad units used were the least expensive possible—two-column, black-and-white ads in journals and oversized postcards in direct mail. The ads and mailers posed the question “Tylenol or Aspirin?” in specific medical conditions—ulcers, anemia, gastritis, anticoagulant treatment, etc—followed by a presentation of clinical evidence that Tylenol was preferable for such patients. All promotion adhered to a straightforward, all-type format that projected a factual tone.
Edwin Steel, McNeil ad manager at the time, comments: “The concept…was somewhat unique [and] Warren was the account manager at the time. KPR wasn’t that big. So my guess would be that most of the copy probably came from Warren’s typewriter or Warren’s research or Warren’s writing.”
John Kallir describes Ross as “the creator and, for many years, the guiding brain” behind Tylenol.
The results were historic. Sticking to this message strategy for a dozen years, Tylenol sales grew, and, based only on professional promotion, the brand eventually surpassed well-established analgesic products that were heavily advertised in consumer media. KPR, lead by Ross, had rewritten the David and Goliath story and, in the process, established a marketing channel for OTC products. The authoritative power of MDs to influence purchase of non-Rx, consumer health products had been forcefully demonstrated. Today, marketers often include programs to healthcare professionals in tandem with consumer advertising to put physician recommendation and reinforcement of the consumer message behind their healthcare brands.
The spectacular success with Tylenol might well have been enough to establish Ross’ reputation in medical advertising, but he went on for 30 years at KPR to assist in the introduction of major brands for McNeil, Upjohn, and Alcon. His role in Alcon’s marketing was so central that the company honored him in 1989 with induction into its Hall of Fame. Additionally, for a number of years, Warren headed up the agency’s educational unit—InforMedia—where he contributed to the development of many of the instructional formats used today (eg, seminars, TV symposia, and spin-off publications).
One of the prerequisites for election to the MAHF is that the nominee make “contributions to enhancing the reputation of the advertising industry through voluntary efforts outside his or her company.” Warren Ross has fulfilled this requirement in a significant way. He has served on the City Council of the City of Rye, New York, and was elected mayor in 1990, serving one term. Today, among other community activities, he chairs an organization involved in improving the environment of Long Island Sound.
Warren Ross is clearly both a man of many talents and a doer, as demonstrated by his accomplishments at KPR, his role as editor of MM&M, and his involvement in community affairs. It would be remiss, however, not to note the style by which he get things done. All who come in contact with Warren cannot help but be impressed by his civility, fairness, and integrity. In his long career, which still continues through MM&M, he has done much by his example to advance these values in medical advertising.
Ask any former employee, associate, or client about Mel Rubin and you’re probably in for a slew of stories about an incredibly talented, bigger than life, individual who was years ahead of his time in everything he did.
Rubin’s writing career began in WWII as a communications officer aboard the USS Lexington (CV-16) publishing the shipboard newspaper. After the war, he was sent to the Navy Public Information Department in Washington, DC where he wrote speeches for Admirals and Marine Corps Generals and conceived the idea of a tour of Navy Combat Art.
After leaving the Navy, Rubin was hired as a copywriter in a large, direct marketing firm, D.H. Ahrend Company. He wrote circulation and promotion letters for Look and other magazines, and copy for a host of other clients. He learned the rigors of mail order copy, the importance of testing, and that – however clever or creative the copy – if the returns didn’t measure up, it was a bust.
Rubin reconnected with a friend at Ahrend and in March 1950 they left and started the Shaller Rubin Company. They began with direct mail, sales promotion, and print advertising. Among their early assignments was a monthly brochure for the Schering sales force featuring every product in the line – Chlor-Trimeton, Coricidin, etc. Other assignments soon followed: detail aids for Geigy, Ciba, and Pfizer, and then advertising for clients such as Reed & Carnrick, Thayer Labs’ Division of Revlon, Norwich Eaton Pharmaceuticals for Chloraseptic (ethical OTC and TV introduction of brand), and Marion Merrell Dow for Cepacol, Cepastat, Citrucel and Nicorette.
Rubin’s agency was a hybrid of consumer and pharmaceutical accounts, with both pharma and consumer specialists participating in the creative process. It quickly became known as the “hot shop,” especially for creative talent from medical agencies including Tom Domanico, Frank Hughes, Harry Sweeney, and others.
The agency’s TV experience with such clients as L’Oreal Preference, Chloraseptic’s expansion from ethical OTC to full OTC status, and the Garanimals TV campaign that made the brand the fastest growing line of infant, toddler and pre-school clothing in the U.S., inevitably turned the agency’s head to thinking of how to use television for prescription drugs.
In the mid 1960s, Rubin presented a TV commercial to Schering Corp. intended to boost sales of Chlor-Trimeton antihistamine. The concept was to stress the difficulty of identifying the source of allergic symptoms, and encourage sufferers to visit a doctor. The product name would not be mentioned as it was considered a taboo by the pharmaceutical industry Schering management found the idea “charming”, “inventive”, “amusing”, “creative” and “utterly impossible.”
Rubin’s continuous advocacy put him on the program of a meeting of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Association, a special session on “How to Use TV for Marketing of Rx Products.” He created a commercial to increase the compliance rate of hypertension sufferers and explained that it was intended only to show how television could be used to increase patient compliance – no product would be named. The discussion that followed was intended as a debate on whether TV was an acceptable road for Rx products. Every attendee either criticized or loved the TV spot, but while it was all they talked about, nothing happened.
When the first TV ad for an RX product finally launched – Marion Merrill Dow’s anti-smoking chewing gum, Nicorette – it was vindication that Rubin’s agency (now Rubin, Reid, Noto and Ehrenthal) was the launching agency. He had seen the potential of DTC and TV advertising for Rx products and led the way in bringing it to fruition.
While Mel Rubin’s contributions to our industry are numerous and significant, perhaps his greatest legacy is his character. Mel’s charisma and spirit coupled with his keen intellect have been an inspiration to all who have had the pleasure of associating with him.
Dr. Sackler was born and raised in Brooklyn and he earned his medical degree at New York University. In the 1930s, he worked in the pharmaceutical industry and, in 1942, joined William Douglas McAdams—at the time a small, four-person agency. He subsequently acquired the agency and so began a leadership career that profoundly influenced medical advertising.
In the late 1940s and 1950s, Rx companies were not marketing-oriented. They had small field forces and lacked extensive marketing resources. At this time, however, scientific breakthroughs in steroids, antibiotics, antihistamines, oral hypoglycemics, and psychotropics were revolutionizing medicine and creating a highly competitive market for brand-name prescription drugs. Dr. Sackler saw the important role nonpersonal selling could play in this environment and became an advocate for the full-blown marketing programs (field force plus multimedia promotional activities) employed today.
He proved his point with the work McAdams did for Pfizer—a chemical company with a new antibiotic, but without the linkage old-line Rx companies like Lilly, Wyeth, and Squibb had with the medical profession. The product was Terramycin and Dr. Sackler helped Pfizer become a major player in prescription drugs with innovative, aggressive advertising and promotion.
A landmark event was the appearance in JAMA of a multipage insert from Pfizer—a self-contained house organ, Spectrum, carrying ads on Pfizer products. Other innovations followed across a range of promotional techniques including field force materials. It can be said that Dr. Sackler helped shape pharmaceutical promotion as we know it today (he even experimented with medical radio and TV in the 1950s), as well as established the role of communications and promotional programs in pharmaceutical marketing.
Dr. Sackler was a psychiatrist who published 140 scientific papers on neuroendocrinology, psychiatry, and experimental medicine. His experience in those fields enabled him to position different indications for Roche’s Librium and Valium—to distinguish for the physician the complexities of anxiety and psychic tension. Accordingly, Valium became the first $100 million drug, a then staggering sales figure. He developed a newspaper house organ called Scope for Upjohn. In 1960, based on this model, he began publishing Medical Tribune, which, in time, became a major scientific publication reaching over a million physicians each week in 20 countries.
The scope of Dr. Sackler’s philanthropic endeavors is impressive. His name is associated with a wide range of scientific institutions: Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv University, Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Science, NYU; Arthur M. Sackler Center for Health Communications at Tufts University.
In 1950, Dr. Sackler started collecting Asian art; subsequently, he accumulated one of the largest private collections in the world. He made contributions to a number of art galleries and institutions such as: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Early Stone Age sculpture) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Sackler Laboratories of Art History and Archeology at Columbia University; Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at Princeton Art Museum, Princeton University; Sackler Wing at Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard University; Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Peking University, People’s Republic of China; Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute, The Mall, Washington, DC.
In his later years, he had stepped back from day-to-day operations at McAdams, but he was still active with the agency and Medical Tribune when he died in 1987.
An Exceptional Creative Talent
Described as creative, inspiring, kind-hearted, and a good soul who was generous with his time and words, Ernest R. “Ernie” Smith cared about the people who worked for him and believed in mentoring his staff. A true “renaissance man,” his talent spread far beyond creating exceptional advertising.
Ernest “Ernie” Smith was born in Los Angeles, California, He attended the Pittsburgh Art School and graduated from the California Art Institute. He began his career at S&H in 1951, and was hired as a designer by Herb Lubalin. During the 1950’s, companies found the need to compete more urgently for consumers’ attention, and designers suddenly needed to become innovative thinkers. Ernie’s career took off during this design revolution. Working closely with Herb Lubalin, his fascination with typography generated work that elevated type to the level of image. The art department won numerous awards and gained many new clients due to the revolutionary and expressive treatment of typography and design. Ernie’s mantra was to always bring something new to the subject.
With little physical space, a drawing board in Matt Hennessey’s office became his office. When Herb left the company, Ernie became an art director and in 1964, he was made creative director of S&H. Some of his key accounts included A.H. Robins, McNeil, and Parke-Davis, where he created memorable, award-winning designs for Benadryl and Zomax.
A powerful influence, Ernie did all the work on Ayerst Laboratories’ Inderal, one of the biggest, award-winning accounts in the agency. The account was so large that, under Ernie’s direction, an art director was assigned to each indication. During the golden age of consumer advertising, Ernie also designed the original PBS logo for channel 13, and the memorable Lucky Strike “Eve” package with Herb Lubalin, which is considered a design icon.
Robin Davenport, creative director at S&H, stated, “Ernie was a bit of a rebel, in that he was so strong and committed to what he wanted that he would often go head to head with account services from his passion to do the right thing and have the creative process be really strong. He nurtured junior talent – the era of the up and coming art directors — and gave them the freedom and license to inspire great creative. I got a lot of opportunities to work on big and major pieces of business because he believed in developing young talent.”
According to Diane Ohye, executive creative director at S&H, “Ernie was a great inventor of the compelling graphic image, what we at S&H call Indivisuality™, a graphic that really tells a story. The famous Benadryl ad (“Fathead”) was done in the era where he had to do a lot of retouching and had to conceive and execute at a very high level. We still look for that compelling and strong visual. Indivisuality™ continues to live on in examples like the Rocephin apple icon, etc. In this regard, Ernie’s work really influenced a way of thinking that created pioneering images that have endured for 20+ years.”
In 1967, Lubalin lured Ernie away from S&H to join him, and, with Tom Carnase, they formed a partnership and created Lubalin, Smith, Carnase, Inc.. In 1972, he moved to Bolton Landing to own and manage a resort, but spent his winter months working with Lubalin. In 1978, he returned to NYC and rejoined Lubalin, Smith, Carnase. Matt Hennessey asked him to re-join S&H in 1980, which he did, remaining there until his retirement in 1989.
Ernie created an atmosphere where people were allowed to do exceptionally fine work. He thought about how to create work, and tried to give people a sense of freedom and style while still creating his own. Working with the best photographers of his time, he frequently offered suggestions and was collaborative in his approach. He worked with other great artists such as Andy Warhol and Carl Fischer.
Known for his exceptional talent, gregarious personality, and storytelling ways, Ernie was a true renaissance man. Not only was he a designer and painter, but a historian, lecturer, author, jazz composer, and film collector as well. Those who worked with him described him as talented, generous, and most important, as a supportive teacher. Ernie was someone others could always go to. He was known for his talent with typography, but especially as the “Idea Man,” The S&H image is truly reflected in his collection of work and awards from Gold Medals to Art Directors Club awards.
Ernie Smith was a true craftsman during a time when there were no computers and design required a tremendous amount of work by hand. He was one of the first and foremost great designers of visual imagery and typography, the likes of which we may never see again.
Arthur Sudler’s interest in the visual arts, his identification with artists, and his personal talents as a painter had a profound influence on the style of medical advertising in its heyday—the 1950s-1960s—and continuing on into the present. Sudler was educated as an artist, attending the Maryland Institute of Fine and Applied Art and studying with such renowned American painters as John Sloan and Robert Henri. His works have been displayed in New York galleries and are part of museum collections.
Sudler was born in 1905, inauspicious timing for a serious art career when the Great Depression struck America in 1929. He went to work for E.R. Squibb, rising to become the company’s creative director and, eventually, going out on his own in 1936 to found an art studio with Squibb as the principal client. Matthew Hennessey, who had also been at Squibb, joined him.
The studio’s output was largely window displays, sales aids, and in-store materials. Medical advertising was not a significant promotional activity for Rx companies. Their major sales efforts were their sales forces. Still, this kind of work was sufficient for the business to grow and be ideally positioned to take advantage of the post-World War II boom in pharmaceuticals.
Sudler, however, had not limited his reach to pharmaceutical clients. The studio had attracted a broad spectrum of business from consumer- and trade-oriented companies for design assignments on corporate identity, publications, illustrations, etc. To service these clients, Sudler formed an important alliance with the brilliant designer, Herb Lubalin, and with this luminous creative star, he attracted a memorable group of young art directors who would leave their marks on medical and consumer advertising: Ernie Smith, George Lois, Fred Pappert, Sam Scali, and Helmut Krone. Sudler’s eye for graphic talent extended to his incorporation of the works of Ronald Searle, Charles Addams, and Andy Warhol into the studio’s output. Notable clients were McCall’s, Saturday Evening Post, and Ladies’ Home Journal; record covers for RCA and Columbia, and campaigns for CBS. As evidence of S&H’s reputation for design, NBC turned to the studio for a logo and was rewarded with the memorable, multicolored peacock.
With such a talent base and reputation, it is not surprising that Sudler tried his hand at consumer advertising, setting up Sudler Hennessey & Lubalin. The new company produced award-winning ads, but was not sufficiently profitable to be continued, particularly with the opportunities pharmaceutical promotion presented in the 1950s. Early Rx accounts were Merrell and CIBA. Sudler also recognized the potential for pharmaceutical promotion overseas and organized Arranz & Sudler to serve international clients.
Throughout the 1950s, into the 1960s, and continuing into the present, S&H produced a body of work which displayed a graphic look that became recognized as “pharmaceutical advertising design.” The style relied on full-page, provocative visual elements linked to equally provocative headlines that amplified on the illustrative material. Both art and copy dramatized and translated into human terms the product’s technical features and competitive claims. Sudler’s taste and visual sensitivity animated the style, which radiated throughout medical advertising and influenced consumer advertising as well.
Sudler is remembered as a generous, caring, cultured leader with a legendary ability to recognize and nurture creative talent. Unfortunately, his health began to fail in his early 60s and he retired from the agency in 1966, eventually dying in 1968.
The foundation he had laid and the standards he had set for the organization were so enduring that his surviving partner, Hennessey, was able to make S&H the largest medical agency in the US for a period of 20 years (1970s-1990s).
The Wordsmith’s Wordsmith
Harry Sweeney’s many contributions to the healthcare advertising profession span the gamut from exceptional creative talent to business leader/manager, from mentor to industry advocate. In addition to creating memorable campaigns for major products, he has made significant contributions to numerous organizations and the careers of individuals who worked for and with him. However, when you speak with his peers and those he mentored, it is clear that they recognize him as the consummate writer. We all know lawyers who fancy themselves as copywriters, but how many copywriters are there with a law degree? Harry Sweeney fills the bill. He received his doctorate from New York University School of Law in 1966, giving him another perspective on advertising and communications.
Harry’s involvement with healthcare began in 1957 with his military service. He was assigned to the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. After two years of service, he entered the industry as medical copywriter for Lederle Laboratories, working for Austin Daly and old-school copy supervisor David Piper.
While at Lederle, Harry worked with a team of individuals that were to become major forces in the industry – Bob Devanna (later ad director at Roche), Bob Oppenheimer, and market researcher John Aherne. Ten months into his stay at Lederle he transferred to field sales as a regional trainee. After his introduction to the industry at Lederle, Harry moved to ER Squibb. Advertising Director Norman Sprei recognized his creative talent, and told him that he should look to a career with an advertising agency that could best utilize it. This lead to a move to Sudler & Hennessey where he first met future partner and Hall of Famer Dick Jones, who worked for the legendary Herb Lubalin.
After S&H, Harry joined L.W. Frohlich, where he became copy supervisor on the Mead Johnson account, despite being the youngest writer on the staff. Mead Johnson was one of the agency’s most important clients, and Harry proved his mettle with a series of successful campaigns for them.
Harry left Frohlich to join the Paul Klemtner agency, which was a shop on the rise, and home to such talents as Bob Buchert, Clive Lewis, Morgan Cline, Frank Hughes, Tom Domanico, Charlie Daly, and Paul Chusid. At Klemtner, Harry created an exceptional campaign for Ayerst’s Premarin, using an image of a good looking middle-aged woman with the headline “Help Keep Her This Way.” Ayerst’s notoriously demanding advertising director Whit Jensen approved the ad without changing a word, and it ran for an unheard of three years with no copy changes.
Shortly after that, Harry got his initiation in to management when he was named head of the copy department, a position he held until moving to another “hot shop,” Shaller Rubin. At Shaller Rubin, Harry handled both Rx and OTC brands, which required a different style of advertising. During his stay, he worked on both Eaton’s OTC Chloraseptic, and Endo’s Rx Percodan.
In 1971, Harry went out on his own, acquiring the Dorland Agency. Together with his wife Rita and a highly motivated staff, he built Dorland into a leading specialized healthcare agency. Premarin and Tagamet are among the memorable campaigns he created for Wyeth and SKF, respectively. The agency’s list of “firsts” is impressive. In addition to Premarin and Tagamet, both “firsts” in their fields, the agency handled the first cholesterol drug (Atromid-S) and the first sequential oral contraceptive. Other major accounts included Syntex, Merck, Lederle, Roche Diagnostics, and Chiron. The agency also handled numerous accounts in the vision and diagnostic & testing fields, plus international accounts. In addition to drug companies, Dorland’s clients have also included service organizations such as the AMA, IMS, and Medical Economics, as well as numerous public service campaigns.
In addition to recording a long record of firsts for his agency, being a born organizer and forceful leader, Harry understands the need to nurture the common interests of agencies devoted to healthcare marketing. This led him to support Pat Dugan in forming the Medical Advertising Agency Association, which later became a section of the 4As. He also played a key role in the founding of the Coalition for Healthcare Communication, and the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame.
Harry has always been a strong advocate for the industry. In addition to his role with the MAAA, 4As, Coalition, and MAHF, he has devoted time and effort to numerous other industry groups. He served on the boards of the American Medical Writers Association, the Art Institute of Philadelphia, and the HMCC, which chose him as president in 2001.
If Harry Sweeney’s career were to be measured only as a writer, he is one of the industry’s elite. 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.
Medical advertising has evolved from the independent agencies of the ’50s and ’60s to the present era of corporate ownership. Most large agencies are now part of advertising/communications conglomerates like Omnicom, McCann, WPP, and Publicis. John Swift moved with the times, learning the business at the independent agencies—helping to found Lavey/Wolff/Swift—and then moving up in the holding company hierarchy to become one of the most successful managers of a healthcare agency network. His background, temperament, organizational talents, and business judgment equipped him ideally for this corporate role.
Swift served his apprenticeship at the Becker and Frohlich agencies and as a product manager at Chesebrough-Ponds. He was in a supervisory position at Frohlich when the agency broke up on Frohlich’s death and, together with Ken Lavey and Bruce Wolff, founded Lavey/Wolff/Swift.
At L/W/S, he showed his entrepreneurial spirit by extending the agency’s services into Canada and Mexico, as well as the discipline of public relations. When L/W/S was acquired by BBDO in 1977, John was well placed to become the supervisor for the company’s healthcare holdings that included the Corbett agency in Chicago. As head of BBDO’s Health and Medical Company (HMC), he expanded its range leading up to the merger of L/W/S with Dorritie Lyons & Nickel, now Lyons Lavey Nickel Swift. When he retired in 1994, the HMC group consisted of 13 medical operations with annual billings of $350 million. Foremost among John’s abilities to lead a diverse network of healthcare promotional companies was his business judgment.
Tom Watson, vice chairman, Omnicom Group, explains, “[describing Swift]…a good manager. His ability to make good decisions…unlike a lot of people who are good account guys or good functionally, John could do that but he had a business sense…he knew how to grow the top line and year [after] year he delivered.”
Frank Corbett, the agency founder, adds this about John’s scope as a leader: “John was not afraid to think big. And that’s why he accomplished so many big endeavors. He bought agencies. He shifted people around…very important to the growth of the overall agencies.”
Swift had another management quality that allowed him to deal with the pressure of the number of units reporting to him. Jack Fisher, former CEO of Corbett, says of John, “He was a good judge of ability in others and was strong on delegation. If he decided that you had the talent and what was needed to do the job, you were hired. He would give you all the resources that the agency had and then he would expect you to go and do the job. In other words, turn you loose…You had the opportunity to succeed.”
Those who worked with Swift also commented on his ability to deal with the constant crises of the agency world. He is often described as “unflappable.”
Fisher says, “He tended to be very even-keeled…when all around you was falling down. John was the calm in the storm. [His attitude was] it didn’t really matter, you come in and make it work.”
The paradox of John Swift was that he accomplished a great deal in a low-key, unobtrusive manner. Watson explains, “John would never be the front-room guy…never the one taking the bows. He’d rather stay in the background and give credit to those around him [but] John unmistakably was the driving force behind [the scene].”
Emphasis on Swift’s achievements as head of Omnicom’s HMC should not detract from his ability as an ad man. He was a star account person at Becker on Merck and a leading account supervisor at Frohlich on Squibb. His big personal successes were at L/W/S with the introduction of Tenormin for Stuart, and the landmark Burroughs Wellcome’s anti-AIDS drug, Retrovir.
However, it is his organizational ability in advertising and in volunteer work that stands out. His talent for bringing people together (fundamental to the collaborative nature of advertising) showed in his long-term commitment to, among others, the Catholic Church (board memberships and fundraising), the PAC (president and in organizational roles), Seton Hall (his alma mater), The Partnership for a Drug Free America (donation of L/W/S personnel to the program), PhRMA (design work and consultation), and most notably, the Coalition for Healthcare Communication.
Jack Angel, the executive director for the Coalition for Healthcare Communication, describes Swift’s role as the Coalition’s principal fundraiser and advisor: “In a volunteer group, your desires are far greater than what you can do. John was the one who said ‘You can do it but here’s what it’s going to mean.’ He was very candid and realistic on what the dreamers were trying to do…a great manager…cared a great deal…understands human interactions better than most people.”
Not to be overlooked in his continual involvement with the inner workings of organizations is Swift’s role as the creator of the New York Giant Kickoff Club—a group that meets weekly throughout the season.
Summing up, John Corbett says, “I found him a realist. He also has a spirit of ‘We can do it!’ It is an interesting blend and made him accomplish many things.”
Betty Kapalla, who worked closely with Swift for years, recalls, “In his office was a little sign and it read ‘Never Say Never.’ And he believed it…never give up. Believe in yourself and do what you think is right.”
In his retirement, John spends his time in New Jersey and Florida where he continues his involvement in volunteer work.
The Launch Guy
Dynamic. A risk taker with distinctive style. These are words you hear when talking about Joe Torre. During the 40 years he worked in the healthcare and medical advertising industry, his energy, enthusiasm, and drive were his trademark. His successful record with new product introductions won his agency the title, “The Launch Agency,” for its work on countless blockbuster and specialty products.
Joe was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, just one block from Frank Sinatra. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and an MBA in Marketing from St. John’s University. His business history began dispensing medicine, working for two years as a Registered Pharmacist in both the retail and hospital sectors. He joined Roche in 1970 where starting as a sales representative, then moving to marketing research as an analyst, senior analyst, and later manager of the marketing research department. He made the leap into medical and pharmaceutical advertising in 1977, joining Healthmark Communications as an Account Supervisor, managing brands for Searle, Procter & Gamble and Meyer Laboratories/Glaxo.
In 1979, Joe was a co-founder of Salthouse Torre Ferrante, which became the Torre Lazur Healthcare Group. For more than 25 years, Joe steered Torre Lazur through a maze of obstacles that would have doomed those less determined. In the early years of the agency, Torre won, and later lost, Zantac, one of pharma’s original “blockbuster” drugs. Faced with losing the biggest account at the agency, Joe capitalized on Torre Lazur’s expertise in the category, and landed SmithKline Beecham’s rival brand Tagamet. That single business win began a thriving partnership between SmithKline (now GlaxoSmithKline) and Torre Lazur, launching breakthrough brands such as Habitrol, Havrix, Paxil, and Kytril.
Under Joe’s leadership, the agency grew dramatically. In 1996, seeing that the future of medical advertising was global, he sold the agency to McCann-Worldgroup, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (IPG), and the world’s largest multinational communications company. As part of the McCann network, Torre Lazur was one of the first companies to establish full-service healthcare communications companies in major markets around the world, setting the standard for launching new brands. As CEO of TLHG, Joe managed the entire McCann global healthcare network through 2005 and was later tapped to develop and grow the McCann healthcare advertising corridor for IPG.
Joe created an enduring strategy for positioning Torre Lazur as “The Launch Agency” by executing a string of successful launches for blockbuster and specialty brands in almost every therapeutic category for the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eisai, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, and Sanofi Aventis. Under Joe’s tenure as CEO, Torre Lazur’s reputation for outstanding launches and breakthrough creativity earned the agency a record eight nominations and four wins for Med Ad News Agency of the Year, setting the standard for excellence in the industry.
Creativity and the ability to grow the bottom line helped to propel Joe Torre and the Torre Lazur Healthcare Group, to the top. But Joe is the first to proclaim that people are everything, saying “give people the freedom to work and grow in a relaxed, fun and collaborative environment -and they will thrive and give you a superior product.”
One of the qualities that made Joe unique is that when faced with a setback he managed to turn it into something positive. His biggest personal and professional challenge came in June of 1991, when he was diagnosed with leukemia. Those who know and worked with him during those difficult times will tell you he was a profile of courage and inspiration, continuing to work both at the office and even from his hospital bed. He beat the disease into remission after only seven months of treatment.
During his hospital stay for leukemia, Joe became aware of the importance of funding for supporting cancer patients and medical research. In 1992, less than a year after his leukemia diagnosis, he began planning what would become the Annual Pharmaceutical Industry Fight against Leukemia Golf Outing. He brought together colleagues from Torre Lazur to help organize the event, and got financial support from industry giants SmithKline Beecham and Ciba-Geigy (now Novartis), with all donations going directly to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Over the years, this event not only raised tens of thousands of dollars, but helped bring new hope to finding a cure or leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood-related disorders.
Whether in business or working to help others, Joe Torre has forged a remarkable record.
Innovative. Insightful. Caring. Jane Townsend embodies the attributes of a successful executive. Upon founding Gross Townsend Frank Hoffman with Alan Gross, and creative partners Ronnie Hoffman and Dave Frank, her vision and passion defined a new kind of health care advertising and a new kind of agency.
Jane’s contributions to our industry and to developing leaders of the next generation are remarkable.
Jane was born in a small town in Oklahoma. At age 16, she was involved in a car accident that almost killed her. She fought her way back to complete health, an early sign of her overarching attitude that anything could be accomplished if you worked hard enough and believed in yourself and your ideas. Jane’s inquisitive mind led her to pursue a degree and, ultimately, a career in journalism. She began as a newspaper reporter, and was named a Top 10 Reporter in the USA in 1971 by the National Press Women’s Association. This success paved the way for her first job in our industry as a copywriter at ER Squibb and Sons.
She was promoted to advertising manager at Squibb and then made the leap to the “agency side,” taking her first account executive position at Kallir Phillips Ross in the mid ’70s. Jane became fascinated with the role of patients in making their own healthcare decisions, and went to work for three years as an account supervisor at Shaller Rubin, an agency involved with advertising to the healthcare consumer. Then, in 1979, she and husband Alan Gross decided to break out on their own to create an agency that would be the kind of place that both had always dreamed of working. The culture she helped shape at GTFH was nothing short of magical, with Jane and Alan attracting a young generation of talent that they personally mentored.
Jane understood the role of the patient in making health care choices long before the internet and technology fueled the trend. She also recognized the importance of “insight based” marketing to the doctor, treating the professional as a “consumer” and evolving the creative product to a more provocative/evocative level. Jane was among the earliest industry veterans who had the foresight to understand the value in developing and assembling multiple communications’ disciplines under one brand/one roof. In addition to the advertising division, Jane spearheaded the launch of GTFH PR, worked with Alan Gross on the initiation of Phase V Med Ed, and ultimately began a digital offering in the early 90’s, right before their retirement.
As with many other original agency principals, Jane recorded several industry firsts that are now taken for granted by those of us who came after. She was among the earliest (maybe the first?) female partner of a major health care agency. She never made it seem as if being a woman impacted, or impeded, her success in a male-dominated industry, and none of the young women she mentored did either. As a result, she gave rise to a whole new generation of female executives/agency principals. She was named the very first HBA Woman of the Year in 1991. Jane was a founder of the Coalition for Healthcare Marketing, because she believed early on that our industry needed help defining its good work for consumers/patients, and a more formal lobbying approach to government. She pioneered one of the very first “CRM programs, “a patient magazine for Premarin called Seasons. She collaborated closely with Alan Gross on the launch of the first statin, Merck’s Mevacor, successfully conditioning the market to the clinical consequences of high cholesterol and the necessity for testing.
Jane has always been philanthropically oriented, and, since retiring to Bonaire in the Dutch Caribbean in 1993, she and Alan have used their marketing and communications skills on charitable activity and volunteer work for various social and educational projects, including ecological preservation work, an Island Disaster Plan development and training, Tene Boneiru Limpi (Keep Bonaire Clean), and founding an after-school program for teens which has become the largest of its kind in the Dutch Caribbean. In recognition of these efforts, in 2005, Alan and Jane were made Knights of the Order of Nassau-Orange by the Queen of the Netherlands for service to the Bonaire community.
All of her life, Jane has been a trailblazer. Her talent and drive have been an inspiration to those who worked with her and her mentoring has earned her a devoted cadre of admirers who have taken their place as industry leaders.
David Wood was an innovator and a renowned developer in the business of branding. He used language to define many of the world’s leading healthcare brands, establishing an image and identity for them. David had a passion for the purpose and value of healthcare brands in our lives and spent much of his career creating lasting identities for many of the world’s leading prescription medicines. In fact, 40 of the world’s 100 top selling Rx brands passed through the creative mind of David Wood.
Born in England, David graduated from the University of Strathclyde in 1966 with a B.A. in Marketing and Management. He began his career working in hotel management for the Grand Metropolitan (now Diageo), then an emerging British hotel and consumer products company. In 1968, he was assigned to opening its first North American outpost in New York City. He served as President of Grand Metropolitan in North America and, six years later, was appointed as President of Air France’s Meridien Hotel Group for North and South America.
Through a diverse and accomplished career path that eventually brought him to healthcare, David developed a deep understanding and appreciation for people. He asked what makes people tick — doctors, patients, pharmacists, families? How can brands trump the rational attributes of Rx products? These were the questions that David helped many clients answer, often with market changing results.
In 1979 David established Interbrand North America, rapidly transforming it into a worldwide company. In 1986 he left Interbrand to found New York-based David R. Wood Associates, a branding consultancy with an innovative focus on creating new value in healthcare branding. David R. Wood Associates was then acquired by Interbrand’s parent company, Omnicom Group, and merged to become Interbrand Wood Healthcare in 2001.
Interbrand Wood Healthcare was born of David’s desire to find better ways to address the branding process and is a direct expression of his commitment to excellence in business and in life. His innovative approaches set new global branding standards for some of the best-known healthcare companies in the world. Without David, the very brand names of Zocor, Prozac, Viagra, Pegasys, Plavix, Advair, Enbrel, Nexium, Diovan, Singular, Herception and Celebrex would never have become part of the world’s vocabulary. As a dynamic business leader within the healthcare practice of Omnicom Group, David invested significant time into fostering personal relationships with the network agency leaders, creating lasting and innovative partnerships in client service that continue to this day. David was a dynamic leader in the discipline of global branding, helping clients expand the value of their medicines as he established Interbrand Wood offices in Chicago, San Francisco, London, Geneva and Tokyo.
Born an Englishman, David lived in New York since the early 1970s and, although he only became a US citizen toward the end of his life, it was a decision about which he was enormously proud. David took great interest in his contribution to and his involvement in charities including the New York Foundling Hospital, CARE and the 9/11 volunteer efforts.
David Wood passed away last year at age 64. David is survived by his wife of 35 years, Marlena Levitz; a brother, Richard Wood; and four nieces and nephews. As written in David’s obituary by Diane Vaca, a friend of the family, “Mr. Wood had an uncommon connection with people. He understood people from many walks of life largely because he had lived so many lives.”