The move is to enable the agency to keep up with the quickly changing needs of pharmaceutical marketers, which are increasingly advertising directly to consumers.
FCB also hopes to eliminate territorial issues hampering coordination between the consumer agency and the FCB HealthCare unit.
The consumer agency previously pursued direct-to-consumer Rx business while FCB HealthCare focused on professional campaigns. The new FCB Healthworks will be a branded coordinating unit.
FCB currently serves Merck & Co.'s Fosamax osteoporosis treatment; Glaxo Wellcome's new Zyban smoking-cessation pill; and Glaxo's HIV product line.
FCB Healthworks is already working with G.D. Searle & Co. on an upcoming arthritis product, and managed-care groups will be added to the mix later.
LODEN TO LEAD GROUP
The new operation is a formalization of broader responsibilities for John Loden, president-CEO of FCB HealthCare; he also will lead the new group. There will be few new hires, as existing employees will continue to work on the pharmaceutical accounts.
"This is a client-driven innovation," said Mr. Loden. "Most clients want better integration."
Healthworks will have its own new research staff, led by Caroline Schooler, director of research and a behavioral scientist. FCB also hired an advisory board of academic health communications experts.
"Other healthcare agencies have worked with such consultants but on a case-by-case basis," said Ms. Schooler. "This board can address every phase of a product's development."
As corporate acquisitions increase, medical healthcare and consumer ad agencies frequently work alongside, and sometimes compete with, one another. Omnicom Group has 10 healthcare agencies under its wing, while most others, such as Interpublic Group of Cos., have one or two.
"Different companies have different ways of responding to a volatile and healthy market like this," said Peter Siegel, recently appointed senior VP-executive creative director at McCann Healthcare, Chicago. "Things are so fluid and changing, it's a real exercise in branding."
He said his shop-which handles both DTC and professional healthcare advertising but still uses its sister consumer agency at times-calls its various units