Medical Firm Seeks Ad Guide

Guidant Corp., a maker of cardiovascular equipment, is searching for a new agency for its estimated $20 million account.
The Indianapolis company sent out questionnaires to 30 agencies and has already reduced the list of candidates to six shops, said sources.
Several hopefuls pitched the business last week. The short list will be shortened even further, down to three shops in the coming weeks. A final decision date is unknown.
An executive at the client denied the company is searching for an agency. “We are looking to get a vendor for our annual report, which is something we do on an annual basis,” said Rob Allen, director of corporate communications. “Maybe people got confused and thought we were looking for an overall ad agency.”
According to a source, however, the company is looking for an agency to handle a corporate branding campaign that will highlight Guidant’s philosophy rather than draw attention to
specific products. The company wants to “place themselves on a bigger platform,” said the source. The search is being led by James Cornelius, Guidant’s chairman. “Saving and improving lives through innovation,” reads the headline on Guidant’s Web site (www.guidant.com).
It was not disclosed whether shops need medical expertise to pitch the business.
Guidant is a publically traded company which generated $2.1 billion in revenue in the last 12 months.
It has approximately 7,000 employees and three different divisions: The Cardiac Rhythm Management Group is based in St. Paul, Minn., and manufactures the Ventak AICD, an automatic cardioverter defibrillator system which can be implanted in the chest and treats life-threatening rapid heart rhythms. The Vascular Intervention Group is based in Santa Clara, Calif., and creates coronary dilation catheters. The Cardiac & Vascular Surgery Group, in Menlo Park, Calif., develops minimally invasive surgical instruments.
Guidant’s rivals are Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic.