21st Floor, 2132
New York, NY 10018
The Curtis, Suite 250-S
Independence Square West
Philadelphia, PA 19106
315 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94104
Account wins 6
Active business clients 16
Brands by 2018 sales
Brand-product accounts held 19
$25 million or less 4
$25 million-$50 million 2
$50 million-$100 million 5
$100 million-$500 million 5
$500 million-$1 billion 3
$1 billion or more 1
Products not yet approved/launched 5
Brand strategy/advertising 40%
Relationship marketing 10%
Industry person(s) of the year
“We lost more business than ever in 2018… yet had our best year ever!” says Steven Michaelson, Calcium’s founder and CEO. “Henry Ford said, ‘When everything seems against you, remember airplanes take off against the wind, not with it.’ And that is exactly what the Calcium team did when our biggest client, representing about $8 million in fee (over one-third of our business), walked out the door in the middle of the first quarter.”
“The Calcium team grew business organically as well as with new business wins from BMS and Nektar – as a result, Calcium ended the year where it started, growing the business 35 percent, which is an unbelievable accomplishment and testament to the strength of our team, the work, and the trust our clients put in us,” Michaelson says.
In April 2018, Calcium was awarded Category III Agency of the Year by Med Ad News. But according to Michaelson, 2018 “truly embodies the saying ‘tough times never last, but tough people do.’”
“We are all about our people and our clients,” he says. “They are our greatest prize. Our agency’s spirit proves that a relentless drive to do great work and do whatever it takes to surpass your clients’ needs always wins in the end.”
In this ever-changing industry, some things do not change. “Clients are still attracted to our brand nurturing strengths: strategy and creative combined with second-to-none digital and executional expertise,” Michaelson says. “Our agency unique advantage is also as fresh as it was when I started Calcium’s predecessor agency, Wishbone, in 1998. Just like Wishbone, Calcium provides our clients – big or small – the same ‘the big agency experience without the big agency bureaucracy’. In particular, our clients love that the executive team is part of their team.”
Calcium added significant talent during 2018. “A big addition to our leadership team was Lou Iovino as Calcium’s president. He is worth his weight in gold,” Michaelson touts. “Lou has already made significant impact with our clients because of his deep high science and oncology experience, and with our people because of his hands-on approach.”
Iovino joins Calcium from Digitas Health, where he led the oncology practice. He is also on the board of directors for the advocacy group Living Beyond Breast Cancer and advisory council for the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, which is one of the 70 National Cancer Institute-designated centers in the United States.
Calcium additionally expanded its already award-winning creative capabilities with the addition of Evan Young as Senior VP, Group Creative Director of Copy. “Evan is leading the charge over the copy department and is already doing great things working with his counterpart in art, Mick Rogers,” Michaelson says. “Evan is well respected, not just at Calcium but in the industry, for his expertise in translating complex scientific principles into digestible content for a wide range of audiences.”
To bolster the client services team, Calcium imported Kim Barcenilla from the west coast as Senior VP, Management Director. “Nothing is better than having your most favorite and most talented people come home,” Michaelson says. “Kim was a rising star at Wishbone for many years, and has now brought her drive and passion to Calcium.” Barcenilla joins Calcium with strong expertise in oncology, rare disease, CNS, cardiovascular, diabetes, and diagnostics.
In addition to being named Category III Agency of the Year by Med Ad News, Calcium’s other 2018 awards included: MM&M 2018 ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ for Michaelson; PM360 Trailblazer Awards Advertising Agency of Year Silver winner; multiple RX Club Awards of Excellence; a PM360 ELITE Award for Garth McCallum-Keeler; PharmaVOICE 100 recipient for McCallum-Keeler; and Gold and Bronze Pharma Choice Awards.
STRUCTURE AND SERVICES
With the new leadership talent added to the agency comes a new, simplified structure. “Everyone now reports through their department heads into the president, Lou Iovino,” Michaelson says. “This structure frees up the managing partners [Michaelson, Judy Capano, Steve Hamburg, and McCallum-Keeler] to focus on overall agency strategy, creative excellence, and operations.”
Calcium’s digital offering is fully integrated into the fabric of the agency. “Our digital team is led by Don Feiler,” Michaelson explains. “Don is a digital guru. We are so lucky to have him leading the digital charge. I just love to watch jaws drop as Don explains how to make what appears to be digital conundrum come to life. It’s really something to see and even better to experience.”
Calcium has always had a niche in the specialty pharma, orphan, and ultra orphan space through the experience and leadership of McCallum-Keeler. “Our goal two years ago was to add oncology clients to our roster, since that is an incredibly robust area of drug development,” according to Michaelson. “Now we have several, including a client in the immuno-oncology space, which is extremely exciting.”
This past year was a year of getting back to square. We did that,” Michaelson says. “We’re doing great things for our clients, which is always job one. But we are also a people-first agency. We do this by offering great benefits: insurance plans, 401Ks, raises, and salaries. It’s just what we do. We are also the only agency, that I’m aware of, that provide our employees with a free lunch every day. And this is not ordering pizza, these are real individualized custom lunches from multiple restaurants. It’s all part of the Calcium nourishment plan. You need to take care of the people that take care of your business. Calcium is focused entirely on the concept of nourishment. Brand nourishment for our clients’ businesses, and giving our people the reigns and physical nourishment the all need to grow and succeed.”
The next goal for Calcium is to expand the NYC office. “NYC is Calcium’s headquarters, but it is small in comparison to Philly,” said Michaelson. “However, we are not in a hurry. Philly, New York, San Francisco – we are all one shop and operate that way. There may come a time when we need to use one as a conflict shop, but today there are no plans for that to change. Job one is to over-deliver on our clients’ needs and grow their businesses. Calcium still lives by the motto ‘We don’t want to be the biggest, we want to be the best.’’’
In keeping with Calcium’s dedication to providing ‘brand nourishment,’ Calcium is honored to continue supporting the Great American Milk Drive, an organization dedicated to providing critical nutritional support for Americans in need,” Michaelson says. In partnership with Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, the Great American Milk Drive delivers gallons of milk for families in local communities. More than 700,000 gallons – over 12 million servings – of milk have been delivered to families across the United States.
“This past holiday season we were extremely proud to have also donated to this incredible organization on behalf of our clients,” Michaelson says. “It was our way of paying forward some of the goodness that befell us all in 2018, a practice we hope to continue every year for a long time to come.”