Publicis Healthcare Brings Creative and Media Closer Together

Sanofi Pasteur Served as Pilot Client Under Newly-Reorganized Structure

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Publicis Healthcare Communications Group is undertaking a major reorganization to better manage client needs as the health-care industry is jolted by technological and policy changes. One big goal is to bring creative and media closer together to help work get into market faster.

As part of the move, creative shops under the Publicis Healthcare umbrella will all add media hubs and media executives at local agencies that don't already have media capabilities. In addition, a central media hub called Publicis Health Media. The structure will be led by Matt McNally, exec VP and chief global media officer for Digitas and Razorfish Health.

Mr. McNally's title will now be president of the group and he'll be charged with overseeing media strategy, planning, buying, content distribution and search across all PHCG agency brands worldwide.

The aim is to create cost and time efficiencies by aligning creative and media. "We see now, more than ever, a need by clients asking to drive efficiencies. We have to know how to work stronger, faster and at a better cost-point," he told Ad Age . "If a client has to hire creative media health-care professional agencies, those teams are redundant."

Adland has coupled and decoupled media and creative services for years. This latest move comes as healthcare agencies realize they must update their structures to better meet the needs of their clients in light of major changes in the health-care industry.

One proof point and pilot account for formulating Publicis Health Media was Digitas Health client Sanofi Pasteur (the vaccines division of pharmaceutical giant Sanofi). "We began to illustrate the need for media and creative to work together," noted Mr. McNally, so the client expanded the firm's media assignment to include digital creative.

Said Jim Schreiber, director of consumer and eCommerce Marketing for Sanofi Pasteur: "We have been working under this construct for a while now and have already found that integrating media and creative has delivered efficiencies in terms of time to market and operational impact."

Not much will change for Digitas Health and Razorfish Healthware --born from the recent merger of Razorfish Health and Publicis Healthware International-- since both already have media-buying and -planning groups. But the network has added media talent at Saatchi & Saatchi Health, Publicis Life Brands, Publicis Touchpoint Solutions, Discovery Chicago and Medicus International.

The group hired and embedded five senior media professionals in late 2012 and has plans to add 20 more by the end of 2013. Agency media leads, including established executives at Digitas Health and Razorfish Healthware, will report to Mr. McNally.

Publicis Healthcare is hoping the move will spark both creative and media new-business opportunities for all its agencies. For example, Mr. McNally noted that medical education firm Medicus might not have thought about physician behavior on mobile platforms before this change. Now, through added media talent and thinking, they can upsell creative mobile opportunities.

He said he expects the move to help yield a double-digit percentage increase in terms of Publicis Healthcare's overall billing and revenue, and referenced a recent creative pitch in which the agency "put media on the table as well."

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