Report by Tro Piliguian
Chief executive officer
Ogilvy Healthworld (OHW) continued to show good year-on-year growth particularly in light of current market conditions, decreasing access to physicians, and dramatic reductions in prescription drug revenues and their associated marketing budgets. North America and Asia showed especially strong growth. 2008 was the fourth consecutive year of revenue and profit growth.
In North America, we had modest growth in revenues and profits. We attribute at least part of our success to the fact that pharmaceutical companies – no longer able to rely on a stream of blockbuster drugs – began to recognize the enduring value of brands and started to invest in them.
As brand builders, this gave us an opportunity to create better, deeper, richer stories, and to tell them across multiple media. It challenged us to develop a full 360 Degree range of marketing communication services, including strategic planning, medical education, professional and DTC advertising and CRM, public relations, clinical trial recruitment, interactive media and market analytics. Today, OHW is one of the truly integrated global offerings with major 360 Degree assignments for Johnson & Johnson and Boehringer Ingelheim.
We launched several new brands this past year, including Sanctura for Allergan, Xyzal for Sanofi-aventis and Concerta Adult for Johnson & Johnson. All were 360 Degree campaigns, and Sanctura and Concerta were combined healthcare provider (HCP) and consumer assignments.
Our Asia Pacific business was up in double digits largely due to the extraordinary performance of the team from Pharmax OHW in Korea. In its first full year as part of our global team, Pharmax OHW surpassed expectations, bringing in a raft of new assignments from its roster of clients, including Pfizer, Sanofi-aventis, Merck and Handok. In Sydney, OHW successfully added new brand assignments from Novartis, GSK, Mundipharma and Novo Nordisk, and our OHW Singapore team was awarded assignments from GSK, Nestlé Nutrition and Bayer Schering.
In Europe, we saw increased consolidation of pharmaceutical marketing investment in 2008, resulting in growth in the number of our pan-European clients. The UK had a strong year, growing its global business with wins at the World Health Organization and with Wyeth. France had an excellent year, beating its budget and improving its margins and profitability. Germany, with global wins at Merz and Intendis, is set to build its international capabilities. Russia is an important market for pharma and we solidified our position there in 2008, working on multiple brands for Pfizer. We see this as a growth region and are committed to increasing our presence there in 2009 and beyond.
Partnerships and promotional activities were a focus for OHW Europe last year. Our partnership with Ogilvy PR – OHPR – wrapped up its first year, and joint ventures with other WPP companies have enabled us to grow business with Bristol-Myers Squibb, now our largest client in Europe.
In addition, we raised our profile significantly when we were invited to partner with the Prix Galien, the health care equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Created in France in 1970, the Prix Galien is now bestowed in 11 countries, and Ogilvy Healthworld is the first and only agency ever asked to join with the organization in promoting this pre-eminent industry award.
We are proud of our accomplishments during the past year, including the many creative accolades we received at the Medical Marketing and Media, DTC Perspectives and the Pharmaceutical Advertising and Marketing Excellence Awards. As part of the Ogilvy family, we are looking forward to more sharing and collaboration in 2009.