International and domestic healthcare specialists
WPP-owned Shire Health International and Shire Health London share the same name and the same office in London’s Paddington, they both specialize in healthcare, and they are both enjoy an excellent reputation in their market, but otherwise they operate quite independent of one another, the former specializing in domestic U.K. programming and the latter developing international programmes that can be implemented on a local level by a pharmaceutical company’s own network of agencies.
Shire Hall (as the firm was originally known) was founded 20 years ago and was the first of the U.K. market’s healthcare specialist agencies. The firm was acquired by WPP in 1999, and more recently has operated as part of a specialist network of WPP agencies (advertising, med ed and more) under the Ogilvy Healthworld brand. Specialist sister companies include 4D (medical education); Sugar Consulting (consumer health); and Fast4wD (clinical trial recruitment).
Shire Health London, meanwhile, is a three-time Communiqué Consultancy of the Year winner that offers a wide range of healthcare communications capabilities including communications planning, media and professional relations support, health policy counsel and issues management, and internal communications. The firm has a team of 16 focused on domestic healthcare PR, strengthened over the past 12 months by several significant additions, including associate directors Sophie Stannard (who rejoined the firm from Packer Forbes) and Alison Wright (who came on board from the client side, at AstraZeneca) joining managing director Matt de Gruchy and existing associate director Sian Boisseau.
While revenues were flat, a restructuring helped the firm improve profitability, and there were several new business successes, including Servier and Blaze Ventures, who join a client roster that includes big brands from Pfizer (Celebrex and Nicorette), Roche (Bondronat and Pegasys), and MSD (Singulair and Cozaar). Among the most interesting work is the firm’s Nicorette assignment, a rare foray into consumer health, which included the launch of Nicorette Fresh Mint Gum, and the introduction of Pegasys, a new drug for Hepatitis C, which managed to secure impressive media coverage despite launching the same day the Hutton Report hit the front pages.
SHI, meanwhile, has 30 people in London and another 10 in New York following a year of steady growth, and has produced Communiqué’s International Campaign of the Year winner two out of the past three years. The firm provides “an outstanding and innovative communications team... highly professional and extremely dedicated,” according to the global brand manager for Astra Zeneca’s Seroquel, a client of the firm for the past eight years.” The firm is “willing to go the extra mile… I regard them as part of my extended team,” adds the international brand manager of Glaxo SmithKline’s Havrix, a client for six years.
The firm added a couple of Boehringer Ingelheim brands (for constipation and irritable bowel syndrome) and some project work for Glaxo SmithKline, on consumer health brands Aquafresh and Polident, as well as Pfizer’s blockbuster Celebrex. Interesting assignments ranged from a breast cancer awareness campaign—Redefining Hope & Beauty—on behalf of Astra Zeneca to introducing urinary incontinence treatment Yentreve for BI.