NEW YORK — Rather than making a new acquisition, MDC Partners is tapping into its existing agency portfolio to launch a new healthcare-focused entity Antidote 360.
Antidote 360 operates like an intermediary that handpicks healthcare-focused teams across the MDC network. Agency heads from the holding company — Jennifer Deutsch (Doner Advertising) and Kathy McCuskey (Yamamoto) from advertising, and Aaron Kwitten from PR — will lead the new venture. All three will continue their roles leading their respective firms.
Borrowing from healthcare terminology, Antidote 360 has ‘client navigators’ who will pull together interdisciplinary teams from across the MDC network. For instance, when it comes to PR, teams could be a mix of talent from Hunter PR, Kwittken, Allison + Partners or Sloane, among others. For now, the navigators continue to hold dual roles within their MDC agency and Antidote. Kwittken forecasts that by the year’s end Antidote will have up to six full-time navigators.
“There’s a cost-savings for clients here too — we’re cutting out the middle and costs savings could be 10%,” Kwittken told the Holmes Report. “There is less duplication, less invoicing, more coordination and a single P&L.”
The firm’s focus will initially be on health and wellness. Among its founding clients is the Canadian-based Skinny Pasta that Antidote is introducing to US consumers, first in Los Angeles and now to other markets. Antidote handles the advertising and digital work, while Kwittken is managing the influencer and media relations.
“This is not to say there won’t be acquisitions at some point,” Kwittken noted. “This is not the period at the end of the sentence. It’s the sentence at the beginning of the chapter.”
Kwittken credits the health and wellness movement and the Affordable Care Act for opening new opportunities for marketers that Antidote is looking to capitalize on. For instance, the accelerated adoption of e-healthcare and the move from fee-based to a value-based pricing that has made hospitals more competitive for consumers and clinicians.
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