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Medical Advertising Hall of Fame 2018

Written by: | | Dated: Friday, February 16th, 2018


Robert Leverte Jr. was inducted as the newest member of the MAHF.

Robert Leverte Jr.

Robert Leverte Jr. was honored by the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame as its 2018 inductee on February 8 at a black-tie event at The Pierre Hotel in New York City. Leverte’s prolific career has included founding ERS – an in-house ad agency at ER Squibb – co-founding Ruvane-Leverte advertising, serving as chairman at Bozell Jacobs Medical Group, and operating as CEO of the Leverte Companies.

“Bob Leverte has been a significant part of the industry’s beginnings and growth,” says Steven Heicklen, president and founder of HeickMed Communications and former executive VP of Leverte Associates. “His accomplishments encompass the founding and building of successful organizations as well as developing ideas and practices from direct-to-patient communication to agency compensation methods to mentoring individuals in a unique way that allowed them to grow and succeed in the industry.”

Leverte started his career in healthcare as a detail person for Schering Laboratories during 1963. He moved to the agency side of the business at Robert A. Becker, where he worked in market research before switching to working on the Eli Lilly account. Leverte founded ERS, an in-house ad agency for ER Squibb, and co-founded Ruvane-Leverte Advertising with John Ruvane. As chairman and CEO of Bozell Jacobs Medical Group, he managed the acquisition of Ruvane-Leverte and Grey Advertising, establishing one of the first integrated medical and consumer healthcare agencies with worldwide reach. That agency was at the forefront of the direct-to-patient movement. During 1998, he founded the Leverte Group, which was acquired by HealthStar in 2001. Leverte retired in 2006.

“Since the formation of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame, I have witnessed the induction of so many industry ‘giants’ … always in awe of what these leaders accomplished and how they changed this wonderful industry,” Leverte told Med Ad News. “Never thinking that some day I would be included among them. I am so humbled by this honor, and so proud to be included among this elite group. A special thank you to the membership of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame for their recognition and support in selecting me.”


2017 inductees also honored

Ryan Abbate

Mike Lazur

Due to a blizzard in the New York City area that canceled the originally scheduled event, the 2017 Medical Advertising Hall of Fame inductees were unable to attend last year’s rescheduled affair, but they were in attendance and recognized at the 2018 gala: Ryan Abbate, innovator and founder of Pacific Communications, and Mike Lazur, an award-winning creative director for Torre Lazur.

Abbate rapidly earned a reputation as a visionary and innovator. He was a leader in the use of DTC communications with programs for the nicotine replacement product Nicorette. Starting in sales and then moving to advertising management at Merrell Dow, Abbate became – at 29 – the youngest department head in the Dow Chemical organization. During 1990, he joined Allergan Pharmaceuticals, where one of his responsibilities was running a small, in-house agency group. When Allergen decided to divest this operation, Abbate took it over and formed Pacific Communications with 18 employees. By the time of his retirement in 2014, he had built the firm into the largest healthcare advertising agency on the West Coast with 250 employees, establishing it as one of the fastest growing and most successful agencies in the business.

Lazur’s career started as an assistant art director with a consumer agency, honing his skills on such brands as the Triumph sports car, British Leyland’s Land Rover, and Prince Matchabelli perfumes. In 1976, Lazur was hired to work for a fledgling new healthcare agency in New Jersey, known as Thomas G. Ferguson Associates. In 1981, Clyde Davis of Klemtner Advertising hired Lazur as senior art director to work on brands such as Pfizer, Squibb, and USV. During 1983, he received a call from Joe Torre asking him to work for his new agency. After helping to build the agency, in large part with a string of new product campaigns that garnered the title “The Launch Agency” for the firm, he became a partner in the renamed Torre Lazur Agency. During 1996, Torre and Lazur partnered with McCann Erickson to take the agency global, and he became chief creative officer for McCann’s global healthcare activities.

About the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame

The MAHF was founded during 1996 with a mission to preserve the history and heritage of the medical advertising profession and honor those who founded and built the industry through their induction into a Hall of Fame. Since its founding, the mission of the organization has been broadened to include recognition of past excellent creative work via its Heritage Advertising Awards, and creation of educational resources through a Young Executive’s Program that holds multiple educational seminars throughout the year. The organization seeks support from the industry for its efforts, with a focus on the annual awards dinner held every February.
As the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame continues its third decade of service to the industry, the organization is pursuing more educational programs and expansion to cover digital communications. For more information about the MAHF, please contact Executive Director David Gideon at or Deputy Director Anne Gideon at medadnews

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