McKinney’s new health and wellness practice seeks to branch out beyond the traditional model of a pharmaceutical agency
Managing Director Michael McNamara, former president of Havas Life, New York, advertises McKinney Health as a truly integrated agency that leverages the health experience with the brand’s innovative consumer experience.
By Maria Fontanazza • [email protected]
Earlier this month, McKinney Creative and Media Agency announced the launch of McKinney Health as a company that combines “a creative, world-class data strategy with years of health experience.” McKinney is an agency of about 200 professionals in a field focused primarily on consumers (Little Caesars, Pampers, Crocs, Samsung). The agency’s recent establishment of a specialized practice in healthcare and wellness is indicative of growing competition in an area where typical consumer brands are shifting focus and closer to traditional healthcare, life sciences and pharmaceuticals.
With advertising news sat down with the new management of McKinney Health, managing director Michael McNamara (especially the former president of Havas Life NY). While at Havas Life in New York, McNamara recently helped oversee the launch of Pfizer’s Comirnaty vaccine against COVID-19 and Paxlovid’s COVID-19 drug, two of the biggest launches in a decade. So, after more than two decades in Havas, what was the lure of a whole new and less well-established endeavor in the healthcare space? “After being in the health and wellness space for so long, I’ve seen that there may be a disconnect from marketing, making health and wellness options less accessible and accessible to some users,” McNamara said in a statement. the agency. “McKinney has a stellar reputation in strategic and creative terms and lives his values for mind and heart. This is the perfect company to launch this new practice. McKinney has the agile, entrepreneurial spirit that is needed for this type of integrated practice to succeed.
With advertising news: What is the significance of McKinney’s move to create a special health and wellness practice (McKinney Health)? What does this mean for the competitive pharmaceutical and marketing space in the life sciences in general?
Michael McNamara: This shows that pharmacy or healthcare is no longer on the island. We have seen this in the last few years. Health and wellness brands are already integrated into our health. You used to talk about health in the doctor’s office or in the gym. It’s everywhere now. This shows a broader commitment outside the traditional health agency.
Many of the health people I know don’t know McKinney, but it’s a very well-established agency that’s not health. You will be amazed by the work done here. Agency that works for [brands like] Diapers, blue diamond or small caesareans [Pizza] there is such an interest in health and wellness because they see that this is the future – especially after the pandemic. It gives us unique strength. Holding companies that control most companies in the industry – there are many benefits and they do a great job. I’ve been in Havas for a long time. There are many customers who want something different. Working with someone who knows healthcare, data, someone who may have done the Little Ceasars Superbowl commercial last year is exciting. It’s someone who presents a different angle. Our strategists are a little more culturally relevant. I think for holding companies, this is to let them know that their traditional competition may not be their future competition.
With advertising news: With the launch of McKinney Health, what experience do you have in healthcare and pharmacy?
Michael McNamara: There are currently about 10 employees who are specific to health and wellness – all of whom have experience in healthcare – in strategy, creativity and project management to help launch McKinney Health. There are also a lot of people at McKinney who have health knowledge that is not a health role.
The customers we talk to want people who know the data and health, but they want it too [the outside perspective that McKinney brings]. Our first big hire was Darcy McCarthy, our group client director; she has over 10 years of experience in the business, a veterinarian in the industry who saw the opportunity to do something different outside of the traditional pharmaceutical agency.
With advertising news: Are there any specific brands that McKinney Health is targeting? Can you talk about recent victories?
Michael McNamara: Zhou Nutrition is one of our first clients at McKinney Health. Darcy has a strong health experience, combined with people who are not healthy because they do not need experience to work with vitamins. She brings different ideas from a medical point of view and combines them with people working on innovative consumer brands.
The other clients we prioritize at the moment are related to mental health and addiction. These are two of the largest areas at the moment. McKinney has really strong values and we will test our capabilities. This is a new experience for me. I think in the past, [many] agencies will take what they can; and we will focus on brands that have a gradual impact on their patients. But we are not limited to them [in mental health and addiction].
With advertising news: What is McKinney Health’s long-term strategy?
Michael McNamara: The long-term strategy is to stand out based on the way we use it [data]. We have a department of people who analyze data and build a model for health and well-being. Then how do we identify business opportunities.
We also apply a social-first approach. I think that will be a big difference. Having an agency that people don’t feel is three to five years behind. The idea is that in the long run, we are cultivating something that is culturally relevant, using data the way it should be and social media the way it should be used, instead of playing catch-up. People asked me why I moved from running a $ 70 million agency as president to a smaller store where you start your own business. I said, “I don’t want to be left behind. I want to be at the forefront of innovation and the way we work in advertising. We hope to get ahead of them and our customers to see this.
Our success will be the success of McKinney and vice versa. We will do it as a McKinney, fully integrated.
|Maria Fontanazza is Director of Content, With advertising news and PharmaLive.com|