As the Manny Awards returned to an in-person event in April 2022 for the first time in three years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the healthcare communications agencies and networks featured in Med Ad News’ annual special report are thriving.

Jay Carter has been a visionary leader in the pharmaceutical advertising industry for almost 38 years, most notably as the growth catalyst for AbelsonTaylor’s evolution from a 28-person shop in 1988 to one of the largest and most creative independent healthcare agencies in the world today.

Jay Carter, Executive VP, Director of Business Development at AbelsonTaylor and Med Ad News’ 2022 Industry Person of the Year, shares some thoughts about his mentors and career path.

When you have a brand with as much promise as Farxiga, you need someone at the helm with the drive and vision to help it reach its full potential. And that person is senior director of marketing for Farxiga, Allison Garrity. When Garrity joined the Farxiga team, the established AstraZeneca brand already had a strong legacy in type 2 diabetes (T2D), but momentum had stalled, teams needed to be rebuilt, and – the biggest challenge of all – Farxiga had to revolutionize care again, this time with indications in heart failure (HF) and chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Sander Flaum

Looking past COVID, the medical world is in turmoil. It’s hard enough for us in manufacturing and marketing to keep up with innovative technologies. Patients and caregivers have it especially tough since they are on the brunt end of disruptive innovations. Every day, patients face a ceaseless onslaught of sort of truths, half-truths, and flat-out lies about their healthcare, and HCPs no sooner graduate from med school than they discover much of their training is obsolete. Flaum Navigators Principal Sander A. Flaum explores how we can engage patients and physicians in the “Next Big Thing.”

Ogilvy Health hired industry strategist Liz Kane to lead the agency’s Insights, Brand and Medical Strategy offerings. In a Q&A with Med Ad News magazine, Kane shared insights from what she brings to the agency from her 20-year career, including as head of brand strategy at Havas Life, where she led efforts for Pfizer and Amgen, and global consumer advertising stints at Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett.

To qualify for this annual report, agencies must have the capabilities to develop marketing strategies that target healthcare professionals (physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, etc.), and/or consumers, and/or patients, and/or stakeholders such as managed market payors. Marketing strategies include the capability to create and place advertisements.

“What a year this is shaping up to be!” say leaders at AbelsonTaylor. “After last year’s amazing growth, we are still growing at a very healthy and more sustainable rate. In 2021, we saw a 15 percent growth in revenue, eight big new business wins, 15 creative awards, 10 percent staff growth, new leadership for our diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities, strong organic growth from existing clients, the launch of eight new campaigns, and – most exciting – the creation of a new opportunity agency, ATNutrient, within the AbelsonTaylor Group.”

In 2021, Agency Habitat experienced a well-rounded year of growth, according to the leadership team. “We saw an increase in revenue from both existing and new business clients resulting in additional hires and agency expansion,” management says. New healthcare clients included Javara, Mission Pharmacal, Asiri Skin Health, Candela Medical, and Veru Pharma. These new additions made up 35 percent of our growth revenue.”

“How does an agency like AREA 23 keep up the momentum it’s created through years of consistent growth and top creative honors, especially during the pandemic and so-called “great resignation”? AREA 23 President Renée Mellas offers a refreshing perspective: “We’re still winning, but not at the expense of losing. Five, 10 years ago, it was win at all costs, all about results. But we’ve come to realize that if we focus on our people and creating a great workplace for them to thrive in, the results will follow.” Adds Tim Hawkey, AREA 23 chief creative officer, “And boy have they followed. The people at AREA 23 stepped up and turned 2021 into the agency’s best year for growth, culture, and creativity in the last decade.”