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Havas Health & You : Havas Life / H4B

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Havas Health is the umbrella for what are now three separate healthcare marketing brands within the Havas group. Havas Life is the biggest of these, known until September 2012 as Euro RSCG Life. It rebranded that month as part of the overall revamp of Euro RSCG's worldwide network. Secondary network Health4Brands was spun out separately in 2009, and the newest addition to the fold is Havas Lynx, launched in 2012. In 2017, consumer healthcare units within the main Havas Creative Group also joined an expanded Havas Health & You grouping.

Clients

Click here for a Havas Life client listing from Adbrands Account Assignments

Competitors

See Healthcare Marketing Agencies index for other companies

Brands & Activities

Havas's healthcare marketing business has undergone a series of restructurings in recent years, with different units merged, spun out or rebranded, in many cases to avoid client conflicts. The core business remains Havas Life, which still claims a footprint of 60 offices in 50 countries, although that includes around 20 affiliates and local outposts of the main Havas Worldwide agency. It offers a full range of healthcare marketing services, from advertising to PR and from B2B pharmaceutical marketing to more specialised disciplines like managed care and medical education. It continues to operate multiple different units within the US, including the main Havas Life NY outpost and Havas Life Managed Edge in New York and Havas Life Metro in Chicago.

That brand is now partnered by secondary micro-network Health4Brands (or H4B), which was carved out of what was then Euro RSCG Life in 2009. It also provides a full service offering through several US offices including H4B Chelsea in New York, H4B Catapult in New Jersey and H4B Back Bay in Boston, and a collection of outposts in larger European markets. In a further round of changes, the Havas Lynx brand was created in 2012 following the acquisition of Creative Lynx, a healthcare marketing agency in Manchester in the UK, and its merger with the former Euro RSCG Life 4D offices in the US. The old Havas Life office in London was merged into H4B and a new office launched as Havas Lynx London. The new brand is also full service, but with a heightened focus on digital. The entire collection of health-related units - professional as well as consumer healthcare teams within mainstream agencies such as Havas San Francisco - now operate under the overall umbrella of Havas Health & You.

In 2017, the group launched HVH as a joint venture with analytics company Vencore, offering specialised analytical services for patients with rare or hard-to-treat illnesses.

The group has enjoyed a run of success recently, winning numerous plaudits for 2009 including Adweek's first ever Healthcare Agency of the Year, Med Ad News' mid-size Agency of the Year (for the Euro RSCG Life Metamax unit) and Network of the Year from Medical Marketing & Media. Health4Brands Chelsea in New York took the prize as Med Ad News Large Agency of the Year in 2013.

Advertising Age estimated combined global revenues of $301m in 2016, including $219m in the US.

Management

The entire Havas Health & You global network is overseen by group CEO Donna Murphy. Other senior managers include Jeff Hoffman (chief development officer), Julie Monroid (strategy partner) and Ed Stapor (global brand director). Allison Ceraso & Michael McNamara are joint managing directors of Havas Life New York; Mike Peto is COO and managing partner of H4B Chelsea.

Background

Even before the latest rebranding, Euro RSCG Life had already undergone a series of overhauls, with a collection of multiple separate units gradually boiled down to form one or two branded units. The Euro RSCG Life network was formed originally around two New York agencies, Robert A Becker and Lally McFarland & Pantello. Lally was founded in 1980 by John Lally, James McFarland and Ron Pantello who had all previous worked together at Sudler & Hennessey. Euro RSCG Worldwide acquired a minority stake in 1991, before taking majority control in 1998. Lally retired in 1993; Pantello continued to run the expanding Euro RSCG Life network until 2007. The Robert A Becker agency was founded in 1961 and also acquired by Euro RSCG in 1991. The group bolstered its US portfolio with two purchases in 2000 - California's Lena Chow advertising and Canadian agency Remtulla & Associates (now Euro RSCG Life Canada). In the US, the network operated a number of specialist satellite businesses including Noonan Russo Presence Public Relations, PeerMed, and Nethod, grouped under the Euro RSCG Healthview banner. Throughout this period, all the agencies acquired into the network around the world had maintained their own branding, and operated more or less independently. However in March 2003, Euro announced a restructuring of all the network agencies to form a single unified brand, or at least a shared umbrella brand, under a single central management team.

Even then, until 2012, there were still around 10 separate units clustered around two core agencies based in New York. Euro RSCG Life LM&P, based in the main global HQ, was the former Lally McFarland & Pantello agency, which formed the main platform on which the network was built. Euro RSCG Life MetaMax was established in 2003 as a dedicated agency to handle what is now Sanofi, but also handles other accounts. In 2012, they adopted new names of Havas Life Metro and Havas Life New York. There is comparatively little difference between the two agencies - and they share the same offices on Madison Avenue - but they remain notionally separate to avoid potential conflicts between clients Sanofi and Pfizer.

The two core agencies were supported in turn by Havas Life Digital (rebranded twice; in 2009 from Euro RSCG Life x2; and in 2012 from Euro RSCG Life 4D). This served as the umbrella for a group of other specialist units involved in areas such as medical education, digital and managed care, including Havas Life Medicom (medical education) and a digital healthcare agency launched in 2008 under the name Havas Drive. The latter's launch project was the development of the Virtual Convention Booth, an interactive service which allows pharmaceutical companies to present their products to medical professionals online in the same way that they would at a trade fair. That service was launched via the independently owned WebMD online portal.

Two other former Euro RSCG Life outposts - formerly Euro RSCG Life Chelsea, created in 2004 from the merger of Robert A Becker and sister shop Questar, and Euro RSCG Life Catapult in Princeton, New Jersey - were shifted into a separate group. The Health4Brands network was originally launched in 2009 to handle client conflicts, mainly outside the US. However Chelsea and Catapult were rebranded in 2010 and 2011 respectively to become the second string's US bases. They now operates as H4B Chelsea and H4B Catapult.

The international network has been bolstered with a string of acquisitions, including Money Syner Communications, previously the largest independent healthcare agency in the UK. That 2003 purchase doubled the size of Life's health offering in the UK, making it the country's #1 agency in the sector. Most international offices have now been unified, first under the Euro RSCG Life brand, later as Havas Life or H4B.

Last full revision 30th May 2017

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