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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry

ICC Lowe 2014

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

5 Sylvan Way
Parsippany, NJ 07054
Telephone: 973-984-2755
Facsimile: 973-451-2352

 Quick Facts

Account wins 6
Account losses 1
Active business clients 35
Brands by 2013 sales  
Brand-product accounts held 112
$25 million or less 12
$25 million – $50 million 18
$50 million – $100 million 30
$100 million – $500 million 20
$500 million to $1 billion 12
$1 billion or more 8
Services Mix  
Professional advertising/promotion (all channels) 50%
Consumer advertising/promotion (all channels) 35%
Promotional medical education 10%
Engagement/media planning 5%

Client Roster

Biogen Idec
BoehringerIngelheim Pharmaceuticals
Celldex Therapeutics
CSL Behring
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Health
Heron Pharmaceuticals
Janssen Pharmaceuticals
Janssen Therapeutics
Merck Animal Health
NewLink Genetics
Nuron Biotech
Partnership at
Sunovion Pharmaceuticals

At the outset of 2013, Steve Viviano, CEO, announced his vision to build the agency of the future on the same plot of land where he erected the award-winning ICC Lowe. “This was not intended to be an out-building, but rather, an expansion on the rock-solid architecture that has delivered exceptional brand work for clients over the years, armfuls of industry creative awards and multiple Agency of the Year acknowledgements,” executives say.

At the end of 2012, Viviano hired Matt Brown as general manager to help accomplish the job, and together they set out to create an agency that would lead the way for clients looking to better engage physicians and consumers. The vision included building an agency that would attract and hold talent like no other. “Continuing to build this agency and help engineer its future gets me going well before dawn every day,” Brown says. “Starting with this amazing group of people and backgrounds is just invigorating.”

Already a vital part, Chet Moss, chief creative officer, and Stacy Patterson, chief medical officer, provided the foundation of what agency leaders characterized as striking creative work and unparalleled medical prowess. To build on this success – and fortify its leadership – the agency added key industry leaders Martin Mannion to head up strategy and branding, Bill Meisle to spearhead engagement strategy, and SophyRegelous to direct operations and technology. “These pivotal leaders ensure that ICC Lowe will steadfastly deliver on their driving core values of innovation and excellence,” agency leaders say.

The agency also strengthened its account leadership, promoting Sasha Boxer-Ruvo to executive VP. She now manages a sleeve of business along with executive VPs Ray Purkis and John Kilkeary under the guiding hand of Ken Jordan, director of client services.

Agency managers say they spent 2013 framing the plans to achieve the audacious vision set before them.

“While clients can continue coming to us for the great expertise they’ve come to expect, we’re also putting new ideas and added services in place that just may cause you to think twice about what you thought you knew about ICC Lowe,” Viviano says.

The agency, which executives say was already known for its medical prowess and creative horsepower, is now showcasing new strategic offerings and an entire platform of digital solutions from social to mobile and everything in between.

ICC Lowe’s flagship office in Parsippany is also undergoing a transformation – one that, according to agency leaders, will align the physical environment with their vision. The space enhancements will enable clients to immerse themselves in a working “experience” with the agency – from their strategic approach to their creative philosophy to their new, channel-agnostic innovations.

“Initial reactions from clients privy to where we’re going tell us that they’ll now want to see, hear and experience our ideas, and we’ll have a singular space to accommodate that,” Brown says.

Executives say while ICC Lowe has experienced a highly energized year internally with new space, new talent and new offerings, externally has been just as prolific.

The agency has been building brands for existing clients, building multiple launches, and building its business with new client wins. With double-digit growth driven by their main office, ICC Lowe welcomed new clients such as Merck Companion Animal Health, after a competitive pitch. “Merck was one of the early clients to experience where we are going,” Brown says. “And they quickly saw what we could do for their entire portfolio of products.”

ICC Lowe leaders are quick to note that the agency’s evolution is about answering the needs of both clients and its own people, recognizing these needs are ever fluid. The agency has anticipated and provided for future growth and change, ensuring that the plans implemented today are adaptive and responsive down the road.

The year “proved for us that a strong foundation of ideas and talent can support an amazing new structure,” Viviano says. “We’re standing tall and excited about what’s next. For all clients and employees, Viviano has one, clear invitation: “Come, and experience the new ICC Lowe.”

The Year’s Accomplishments

2013 ushered in a new business structure that according to executives, provides an enhanced focus on clients complemented by a greater flexibility of resources.

“Marketplace change is a constant, and that resulted in delayed product introductions for some clients, with accelerated timelines for others,” Jordan says. “Our new structure allowed us to shift skilled and resilient resources to swiftly respond to these moving demands.”

Three industry veterans lead the business units. Ray Purkis, with both client-side and agency experience, leads multiple teams across a range of categories, including work in promotion and medical education. John Kilkeary, who has guided several major industry launches, is spearheading a multi-product launch for one of the agency’s largest clients. And heading up the agency’s oncology and animal health businesses is Boxer-Ruvo, a major contributor to the growth of those businesses in 2013. “Their diverse skills not only support client success, but also develop and cultivate agency talent,” Jordan says.

According to agency leaders, the launch pad was heavily fueled with some significant new and expanded indications. For Allergan Urology, ICC Lowe launched Botox for the treatment of overactive bladder. For the maintenance treatment of an epidemic of opioid dependence, the agency delivered a comprehensive HCP and patient program for Zubsolv from Sweden’s Orexo. RISE, a patient support program, was created to offer customizable and interactive vehicles evolving from unique patient behavior research. 2014 will witness eight additional launches.

On the new business front, ICC Lowe followed up its 2013 Manny Award for Best Interactive Physician Campaign for Activyl by winning the highly competitive pitch for the entire Merck Companion Animal Health portfolio. This win embraces their entire line of parasiticides, vaccines, therapeutics, and the Merck pet rescue service, HomeAgain. “Our hallways are filled with dog and cat lovers, and this Merck partnership just charges up that passion,” Brown says.

Part of the year’s growth can be attributed to the expansion of the agency’s oncology business unit. In a therapeutic area rife with pioneering ideas, the agency won two new client assignments from Celldex Therapeutics and NewLink Genetics. Adding to its work for Heron Therapeutics, these two assignments fall within the hot topic of evolving cancer immunotherapy treatments and technologies across tumor types. “This work is directed at critical, unmet oncology needs,” Boxer-Ruvo says. “We’re digging into what’s possible in pancreatic, glioblastoma, and triple-negative breast cancer.” ICC Lowe is partnering with such small biotech companies driving awareness of innovative pipelines and preparing for successful future launches.

Agency leaders say creativity flourished at ICC Lowe throughout the year, yielding a lush garden of industry acknowledgements. “We set our creative bar even higher again this year,” Moss says. “And once again, our talented staff rose to meet it.”

With eight finalists and four gold medals, ICC Lowe was both the most nominated agency and the most awarded full service agency at the Medical Marketing & Media Awards Show in October. And the London office had a stellar night at the Veterinary Marketing Association Award Show garnering more than 20 awards including the President’s Award and The Best International Award, among the highest accolades at the show. “Kudos to Julian Astin, London CD, for reining in the animal trophies,” agency leaders say.

According to executives, the Manny win for Best Professional Interactive Campaign was critical to the agency’s explosive digital growth.

“We really had an extraordinary creative year,” Moss says. “It’s been building like that for years now. From our professional work to patient promotion to pro bono. But frankly, it’s what we owe to our clients. And to everyone who touches the work.”

2013 witnessed an infusion of exceptional new leadership at ICC Lowe. Mannion, as executive VP, director of strategy and branding, is responsible for the design and execution of customized, market-moving strategic solutions. His U.S. and global expertise in brand franchise and portfolio architecture has helped launch some notable industry brands. “Processes are not developed merely to have new news to tout,” Mannion says. “We’ve now created an approach that will unveil insights into what our customers know, believe and how, in turn, they act. Then you can really engage them where they live.” When he’s not leading one of his exuberant brand workshops he’s been known to write a stage musical or two.

Patterson corroborates the value of the process Mannion champions. “When the medical team speaks with HCPs, we’re looking to understand what they know about a product, whether it’s right or wrong,” she says. “Then drilling deep into data helps us create the strongest story we can aspire to tell … between the medical directors strategies and the project directors conceiving educational opportunities, we’re elevating product and brand knowledge at every juncture.”

As senior VP, director of customer engagement, Meisle leads the growing ICC Lowe team of experts leveraging analytics, research and deep channel expertise. Meisle, viewed as a thought leader in this space, previously led enterprise channel marketing at GlaxoSmithKline. “Our job is to bring together the triad of medical, customer and engagement insights to create HCP and patient experiences that connect emotionally via messaging and powerful creative,” Meisle says. “Customers are engaging in ‘places and platforms’ they never dreamed of a few years ago; phones, tablets, set-top boxes – Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook, Slideshare.”

Meisle notes that a strong content strategy sits as the foundation of a winning marketing strategy, and a distribution and connection strategy ensures engagement in the channels and devices where HCPs and patients spend their time. “We’re helping our clients understand how and where their customers are connecting with brands, and map out an engagement and activation plan that maximizes the value of marketing,” he says.

With an ironclad commitment to delivering excellence and QA across the agency, Regelous was brought on as senior VP, director of operations and technology. Executives say her vision for organization and process cycle improvements has helped manage the workflow of both pharmaceutical and consumer agencies, facilitating their transformation to fully integrated media entities. “I’m a huge fan of Dr. Deming’s ‘Plan-Do-Check-Act’,” Regelous says. “I actually get goose bumps when brilliantly executed work flawlessly leaves the agency.”

As well, Karina Duffy joined ICC Lowe in 2013 as the new senior VP, director of human resources. Duffy has made a career helping the evolution and growth of companies during transformative periods spanning the publishing and communication industries. Agency leaders say HR has become a focal department for helping to advance both the day-to-day and career-building experience of agency talent, and Duffy has led several new processes such as performance management and training, and creation of a career ladder process.

Agency executives say staff career experience was also heightened through the development of The ICC Lowe University. Driven by the notion that an ad community can also serve as an academic community, “The You” was created to offer employees enhanced skills, knowledge and training vital for leadership and advancement. Multidisciplinary courses taught by agency talent include the strategy of positioning and branding, healthcare reform, SEO copywriting, digital tech terminology and an ever-growing agency responsibility: working with a client’s IT group. “While there is no football team yet at ‘ICC Lowe University,’ that itch is otherwise scratched with the agency’s annual Turkey Bowl,” agency managers say.

According to Brown, passing statistics are available upon request through the HR department.

In keeping with its expanding engagement offering, the agency hosted an Engagement Showcase event that brought together the expertise of 10 local, regional and national companies. Staffers were provided an opportunity to speak about services, innovations and customer engagements from such enterprises as Doximity, Treato and Tumblr. Working alongside Eugene Lee, chief digital officer, Matthew Selvaggio, agency engagement strategist, organized the event. “The highlight was a robust discussion panel which Matt Brown facilitated,” Selvaggio says. “Their insights help us extend market opportunities for our clients. Very exciting stuff!”

Future Plans

Executives say the agency is committed to continue to build on its core strengths, and to deliver a new agency model for its clients and the industry that will address the ever changing healthcare landscape. For ICC Lowe, it’s a very basic formula built out of its core values: excellence, integrity, innovation and creativity all delivered to clients with their brands’ interests and them in mind, first and foremost.


In 2013, ICC Lowe continued its unwavering history of involvement in community and social issues. The agency was awarded a unique opportunity to work with The Partnership at (formerly, Partnership for a Drug Free America of “this is your brain on drugs” fame) to help stem the acceleration of prescription drug abuse in the United States. The 2014 effort will be leveraging promotion and medical education expertise to support the Medicine Abuse Project. With an unprecedented rise in Rx opioid abuse and overdose deaths, the campaign is designed to raise HCP awareness of the tools and resources available to help curb abuse, and to encourage doctors to take action in their practices leading to a national consciousness. “We are so very proud to add this important new client to our roster, and continue our efforts on the pro bono front,” Viviano says.

With its legacy of award-winning creative efforts for the Food Allergy Initiative, the FoodBank of New Jersey and Roberto’s Kids, the ICC Lowe CommUnity continued its commitment to philanthropic causes. A sweeping, agency-wide effort resulted in the support of more than 20 diverse organizations. It continued with initiatives for heart health, blood drives, and colon cancer, brain cancer and stress awareness programs. The agency even created a board game donation program for Newark’s Park Elementary School. “We gave kids a different way to connect with their families,” Duffy says. “You just have to keep the dice rolling and playing every card you can for the community.”

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