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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry

Heartbeat Ideas and Heartbeat West 2014

Written by: | | Dated: Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

200 Hudson Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10013
Telephone: 212-812-2233
Facsimile: 212-812-6380

Quick Facts

Account wins 17
Account losses 2
Active business clients 15
Brands by 2013 sales  
Brand-product accounts held 31
Services Mix  
Digital 60%
Advertising    40%

Client Roster

Agilent Technologies
Corcept Therapeutics
Galderma Laboratories
Pfizer Inc.
St. Francis Hospital
Teva Pharmaceuticals USA

2013 was the most significant and transformative of Heartbeat’s rich, 15-year history, agency executives say.

The Year’s Accomplishments

“The marketing innovation agency continued to thrive financially; California office offspring, Heartbeat West, continued to pile up West Coast clientele; and our constant presence on the industry’s thought-leadership speaking circuit reached an all-time high, with Heartbeat speakers presenting at an astonishing seven premier industry conferences and five major client forums,” executives say.

Leaders also noted “dramatic growth and expansion … in almost every regard, guided along by inspirational new client-partners and unrelenting production of bold and innovative campaigns in all areas.”

But according to agency executives, what clearly stands out as the biggest news of all was Heartbeat’s decision to join Publicis Healthcare Communications Group, the largest health communications network in the world, as a member of Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness in the United States.

Structure And Services

“Despite the seemingly significant shift for the formerly privately owned and proudly independent company, our staff, executive management team, core leadership, and overall structure remain unchanged,” executives say. “Also unaffected is our deep-rooted obsession with dismantling the perceived or assumed limitations of advertising in a regulated industry to bring unconfined ideas to the confined environment of healthcare marketing. So, in many ways, it’s business as usual for the Heartbeat you know and love.”

According to agency leaders, the biggest change is “The undeniable increase in strength, resources, and global reach, as a part of the world’s largest agency network, for starters. With newfound agency partners and affiliates in nearly 70 countries, Heartbeat can now expand our service offerings to all corners of the globe when needed and tap into the powerful legacy of blockbuster brand launches across virtually every therapeutic category – from high science, to consumer brand building, to pet health (the pooches roaming our office hallways are particularly happy about that one).”

In 2013, Heartbeat expanded its work with clients such as Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Galderma, Sanofi, Teva, St. Francis Heart Center, and UCB. Additionally, the agency landed major new accounts with companies such as Abbott Diabetes Care and measurement device leader Agilent Technologies.

“The latter furthers what we believe to be a burgeoning and rewarding part of the Heartbeat business – partnering with small to mid-sized entrepreneurial companies and like-minded risk-takers who are looking for courageous healthcare marketing ideas,” executives say.

Promising 2012 client additions also made their mark on the Heartbeat portfolio in 2013, executives say, inspiring some of the agency’s most innovative and effective work to date.

Agency-of-record efforts for the relaunch of XenoPort’sHorizant, a treatment for restless legs syndrome, produced an impactful rebranding campaign highlighted by a wide array of both digital – iPad sales aid, Website redesign – and traditional in-office components. Heartbeat’s work with Corcept Therapeutics for Korlym, a treatment for Cushing’s syndrome, inspired the development of Cushing’s Connection – a multiplatform support program solely dedicated to management of the rare disease. And not to be outdone by its East Coast big brother, Heartbeat West’s agency of record work for Santa Barbara–based cosmetic device company Sientra broke new ground as the company spread its message beyond plastic surgeons to an information-hungry patient population in a new consumer-focused campaign.

Executives say the Heartbeat Ideas team’s work on TevaRespiratory’s QNASL Nasal Aerosol allergy medication garnered significant industry praise with five award honors in 2013. The geo-targeted online media campaign collected wins in the Internet Advertising Competition (IAC) Awards, DTC National Ad Awards, W3 Awards, Davey Awards, and Rx Club Awards.

Heartbeat’s role as healthcare marketing thought leaders reached new heights in 2013. Bill Drummy, founder and CEO, was selected for executive-level speaking engagements with major pharmaceutical companies such as Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and Galderma.

Additionally, Drummy continued sharing his commentary on the future of healthcare marketing at some of the country’s most popular pharma marketing conferences. This included featured speaking roles at CBI iPharma, DTC National, ePharma Summit East and West, and Digital Pharma East and West. Drummy continued his service on the Pharmaceutical Executive Magazine Editorial Advisory Board and DTC Perspectives Advisory Board and became a mentor for Blueprint Health – a community network and startup accelerator program focused on helping entrepreneurs innovate within the health technology space. Drummy was also asked to join the Google Healthcare Advisory Board, a diverse group of healthcare industry experts and thought leaders selected by Google to discuss the changing healthcare landscape, implications of health reform, the empowered consumer, the digital doctor, and short- and long-term opportunities for partnership as healthcare and the role of pharma is reinvented. “It felt like anywhere and everywhere that discussions on the future of pharma marketing were taking shape, we were there (even at Google!),” executives say.


“While we’re immensely proud of Bill’s achievements, the direction of our business, and the great strides Heartbeat has made in the past year, we’re equally as delighted by the continued sense of family and distinctive culture cultivated within our office walls,” managers say. “More than the occasional after-work get-together, company-wide philanthropy work in our local communities is the real source of bonding for our Heartbeat crew.”

Annual events dedicating time or raising money for a slew of charitable organizations “litter our Outlook calendars,” according to executives. These include Career Day for underprivileged youth from the Fiver Children’s Foundation, New York Cares Coat Drive, adopting a family and showering them with gifts for the holidays through Sanctuary for Families, or the agency’s Revivn Recycling Challenge and Fundraiser gathering old iPods, BlackBerrys, iPhones, and iPads to donate to charity.

“The Heartbeat crew isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty, either, working with the Fresh Air Fund as summer camp counselors for a day to provide children from low-income communities with the quintessential outdoor summer experience,” executives say.

The Heartbeat West team again teamed with the staff of the Downtown Women’s Center in L.A.’s Skid Row community to cook a healthy meal for more than 200 of the organization’s impoverished members.

But the most enlightening of all may have been the second installment of the “Heartbeat’s Got Talent” show at the Canal Room in downtown NYC, executives say. Artwork donations, stand-up comedy, and both musical and acting performances – all riddled with a healthy dose of amateuresque embarrassment – were brought together for the chance to raise funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. “In 2013, if it was a worthy cause, Heartbeaters were eager and willing to contribute,” executives say.

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