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Integrated Huntsworth Health moves into top tier

Published on 22/09/06 at 10:46am

Healthcare communications group Huntsworth has merged its advertising, medical education and PR agencies into a single, fully integrated company, to beome one of the largest of its type in the UK.

The agency, to be known as Huntsworth Health, encompasses the med ed and PR agencies Avenue HKM and Jago Pearce, the brand consultancies/full service ad agencies PBC and VB Communications, the new media agency Digital Media Works and the market research company Brand Health International.

Overall, Huntsworth Health says the move makes it the UK's leading healthcare agency, by its size and range of services.

Huntsworth Healths senior management team includes chief executive David Rowley, chief operating officer Nigel Jones, operations director Mike Dixon, finance director James Bell, executive assistant Clare Rankin and creative director Liz Maclaren.

The company will be split into three divisions: brand consultancy and advertising, medical communications, and creative services, which encompasses digital and new media. Jon Lee, Sandy Thomson and Marcus Perry will head these divisions respectively.

The agency's chief operating officer, Nigel Jones, said: "Global brand success needs insightful customer understanding, strong brand identity and consistent message communication.

"As an integrated offering, we are best placed to support our global clients in achieving this success. Many networks may have the mix of specialist skills within different companies, but none are really breaking down the barriers to integrated working."

In contrast to other networks, Jones said Huntsworth Health will work as one brand and one company with a single profit-and-loss account, removing the need for its constituent parts to compete with each other for revenue.

Huntsworth has been steadily expanding its presence in the healthcare sector, through acquisitions of PBC in 2001, VB Communications, including Jago Pearce and Avenue HKM in 2004 and, finally, Brand Health International in 2005.

Huntsworth Health operations director and former Jago Pearce managing director Mike Dixon said the agency brings together specialists in their fields.

"Huntsworth Health is not about being a Jack-of-all-trades. We are bringing together Masters of all trades but allowing them to work as one.

"As an integrated agency, we are able to offer clients one integrated team bringing together the right mix of specialists to meet the comprehensive communication needs of the brand," Dixon added.

Merging its healthcare operations is logical for Huntsworth. Some 30% of its healthcare revenues already come from clients who work with two or more of the group's healthcare agencies.

One such company is Pfizer, for which Huntsworth's healthcare agencies provide advertising, med ed and PR support on its human growth product, Genotropin.

Clients benefit from an integrated agency in many ways, such as improved strategic input predicated on the needs of the brand not the speciality of the agency; reduced resource required for agency management and cost beneficial synergies. But ultimately, they benefit from more cohesive brand communications and, therefore, enhanced brand success, Dixon explained.

The agency's current client list includes AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Amgen. One of the first new accounts the integrated agency will be working on is Stiefel, a pharma company specialising in dermatology. Huntsworth Health won an OTC account to work with the pharma company on the promotion of its Oilatum Scalp Treatment.

The newly combined Huntsworth Health will have around 100 people working for it across offices that will be reduced from three to two next year.

Avenue HKM's Chiswick headquarters will become its London location and a new office is to be opened in the Thames Valley. Each of the offices will be able to offer Huntsworth Health's full range of services.

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