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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry

Pacific Communications: 2017

Written by: | | Dated: Monday, April 24th, 2017


Pacific Communications
18581 Teller Avenue
Irvine, CA 92612
Telephone: 714-427-1900


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For Pacific Communications, 2016 was a year of growing better, management says. Not only did the agency meet all of its business objectives, including exceeding its forecast, Pacific also succeeded in strengthening several core areas: senior leadership and staff training and development.

Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., with clients representing the upper echelon of the healthcare industry, Pacific is a full-service global provider of integrated healthcare communications, specializing in new technology, marketing development, product launches, and all forms of marketing communications engagement.

The Year’s Accomplishments

“As an agency, we are continually evolving to better meet our clients’ changing needs, and 2016 was no exception,” says Pacific President Craig Sullivan. “An exciting new association began last year with the addition of our medical director, Devon Malecki.”

Dr. Malecki says, “I am fortunate to be able to apply my clinical insights and medical point of view to Pacific, adding another pillar to a very strong and established foundation. “Everything we do and say on a daily basis must be based on strong scientific evidence. But how we make science and data meaningful to the clinician is key.”
The agency also saw the return of industry veteran Judy Doo, senior VP, director of client services, brought on to oversee several medical dermatology launches. Doo joins a senior account leadership team that includes Henry Lee, senior VP, director of client services; Ryan Orsini, senior VP, director of client services; and Kun-Yang Kim, senior VP, director of client services.

On the creative side, executives say Pacific remains on the path of obtaining industry-leading talent with the addition of new VP, Group Creative Director, Shannon Hollman, formerly with CDM in Los Angeles and now reporting to Peter Siegel, executive VP, executive creative director. “I challenge my teams to look for creative potential in every project – no matter how large or small,” Hollman says. “Creativity inspires us, our clients, and our customers.”

“Doing great work for clients will always be our goal,” Sullivan says. “Another way we are poised for excellence is the launch of a new staff training and development initiative, ‘Pacific Edge.’”

At a time when many healthcare agencies are forced to cut back on staff development, executives say Pacific remains deeply committed. In addition to the ongoing Mentor U program for creatives, Pacific Edge provides context, insights, and practical advice for all agency staff on topics such as the healthcare stakeholders’ needs and motivations, agency/client relationships, and the medical mindset.

Another proud moment for the agency was the induction of its founder, Ryan Abbate, into the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame. During his 30-year career in pharmaceutical marketing and advertising, Abbate quickly earned a reputation as a visionary and innovator. By the time he retired in 2014, Abbate had built Pacific into the largest healthcare ad agency on the West Coast, and one of the most successful agencies in the business.

Structures & Services

As a wholly owned subsidiary of Allergan, Pacific is built on a unique business model. “Sometimes, there’s a misperception that we are just an in-house shop, but in fact, we are modeled and structured to mirror the full-service agency standard,” Sullivan says. “Our success is built on the fact that we are performing as an external agency and competing for market spend just like every other agency. But because of our ownership we actually have a shared incentive and a unique value proposition.

“Also, because of the Allergan commitment to ‘Growth Pharma,’ we are in the position to have a lifeblood of new opportunities,” Sullivan explains. “As Allergan keeps growing with new products coming from its own R&D or through acquisitions, many new brands are on the horizon. Because of our value to the organization, we are in a good position to compete for those assignments. While we are not guaranteed those spots, we certainly want to put ourselves in a position to help support the growth of these brands.”

In the past year, Pacific has been instrumental in helping launch several brands, including Volbella, a hyaluronic acid injectable; Aczone 7.5%, a new formulation of the acne treatment; Inspira, a round silicone breast implant; and Xen, a surgical treatment for refractory glaucoma. In 2017, the agency will be launching Rhofade, a treatment for persistent erythema associated with rosacea. Pacific also won agency of record assignments for Kybella, the first injectable to treat double chin, and EarFold, a medical device to address protruding ears.

“No other agency on the West Coast has launched more brands than Pacific,” Sullivan says. “We have the experience to support these brands throughout their lifecycle with innovative solutions and hands-on knowledge of the categories and markets.”

Future Plans

What else is ahead for Pacific in 2017? “We are looking forward to adding an external partner or two to our client roster – outside of Allergan – as well as continuing to grow our presence on the East Coast,” Sullivan says.
The merger of Allergan and Actavis in 2015 has afforded Pacific the opportunity to work on several Actavis legacy brands, including digital work for Vraylar, as well as projects for Bystolic and Fetzima. To better serve these East Coast-based clients, Pacific opened a satellite office in New Jersey. “Many agencies open satellite agencies on the West Coast,” Sullivan notes. “We are taking the inverse route, going West to East. We plan to strengthen our presence on the East Coast even more in 2017.”

“At the end of the day, it’s about doing what agencies do best: deeply understanding the brand, the market, and our clients, and then coming up creative and insightful solutions to propel their brands,” Sullivan says. 

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