October 25, 2017 – The membership of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame has elected its 2018 inductee: Robert Leverte, whose career included founding ERS, an in-house ad agency at ER Squibb, co-founding Ruvane-Leverte advertising, Chairman at Bozell Jacobs Medical Group and CEO of the Leverte Companies.
Robert Leverte began his career in healthcare as a detail person for Schering Laboratories in 1963. He moved to the agency side of the business at Robert A. Becker where he worked in market research before moving to account work on the Eli Lilly account. He founded of ERS, an in-house ad agency for ER Squibb, and co-founded Ruvane-Leverte Advertising with John Ruvane. As chairman and CEO of Bozell Jacobs Medical Group, he managed the acquisition of Ruvane-Leverte and Grey Advertising, creating one of the first integrated medical and consumer healthcare agencies with worldwide reach. The agency was at the forefront of the direct-to-patient movement. In 1998, he founded the Leverte Group, which was acquired by HealthStar in 2001. He retired in 2006.
2017 Inductees being honored
Ryan Abbate, innovator and founder of Pacific Communications, and Mike Lazur, of Torre-Lazur, an award-winner creative director, who were inducted in 2017, but were unable to accept their Awards due to cancellation of the Dinner because of a blizzard, will accept their awards at the 2018 Dinner.
Ryan Abbate quickly earned a reputation as a visionary and innovator. He was a leader in the use of DTC communications with programs for Nicorette. Beginning with sales, and then advertising management at Merrell Dow, he became – at 29 – the youngest department head in the Dow Chemical organization. In 1990, he joined Allergan Pharmaceuticals, where one of his responsibilities was running a small, in-house agency group. When Allergen decided to divest of this operation, Ryan took it over, forming Pacific Communications with just 18 employees. By the time of his retirement in 2014, he had built the agency into the largest healthcare advertising agency on the west coast, with 250 employees, and one of the fastest growing and most successful agencies in the business.
Mike Lazur began his career as an assistant art director with a consumer agency, honing his skills on such brands as the Triumph sports car, British Leyland’s Land Rover, and Prince Matchabelli perfumes. In 1976, he was hired to work for a fledgling new healthcare agency in New Jersey, Thomas G. Ferguson Associates. In 1981, Clyde Davis of Klemtner Advertising hired Mike as senior art director, to work on brands from Pfizer, Squibb, and USV. In 1983, he received a call from Joe Torre asking him to work for his new agency. After helping to build the agency, in large part with a string of new product campaigns that garnered the title The Launch Agency for the firm, he became a partner in the renamed Torre Lazur Agency. In 1996, Torre and Lazur partnered with McCann Erickson to take the agency global, and he became Chief Creative Officer for McCann’s worldwide healthcare activities.
The MAHF was founded in 1996 with a mission to preserve the history and heritage of the medical advertising profession and honor those who founded and built the industry through their induction into a Hall of Fame.
Since its founding, the mission of the organization has been broadened to include recognition of past excellent creative work through its Heritage Advertising Awards, and creation of educational resources through a Young Executive’s Program which holds multiple educational seminars throughout the year. The organization seeks support from the industry for its efforts, with a focus on the Annual Awards Dinner held in February. Support is given through advertising in the Awards Dinner Program, and attendance at the Dinner. Seats and tables are available for the event, and may be purchased/reserved at https://www.mahf.com/gala/. Advertising support, in the form of full and half page ads, may be arranged by contacting Anne Gideon (email@example.com) for specifications, contracts, and IOs.
The inductees will be honored on February 8, 2018 at a black-tie dinner at The Pierre Hotel in New York City. As the MAHF continues its third decade of service to the industry, it is pursuing more educational programs, and expansion to cover digital communications. We hope that industry members will support us in our efforts, and look forward to welcoming them at our Annual Awards Gala on February 8th.