First Medcare Client for Sawyer Riley Compton

Columbus (Ga.) Regional Network Joins Atlanta Agency’s Roster
ATLANTA–Following a four-month search, Columbus Regional Healthcare System has selected Sawyer Riley Compton as its new creative and strategic agency.
“We’re excited because it’s the agency’s first healthcare account,” said Richard Riley, SRC’s executive vice president and director of global marketing. “It’s something we’ve really wanted and been meaning to go after for a while.”
Based in Columbus, Ga., and serving citizens in parts of Georgia and Alabama, the medical network encompasses two hospitals, three nursing homes, pharmacies, physician practices, a charitable foundation and other facilities and services.
Riley said billings will top $1 million. A source familiar with the account said it was closer to $2 million.
Tom Titus, Columbus Regional Healthcare’s senior vice president, said the Atlanta agency’s lack of healthcare experience was as much a plus as a minus.
“A lot of healthcare work looks the same, and we thought they were the right agency [to] come up with something different,” Titus said. “They understand the importance of branding, no matter what the product is, and they have the creative ability.”
Riley said having several staff personnel with healthcare experience helped in the review process.
Titus said the client heard pitches from three other Southeast shops: Totalcom in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Atlanta agencies Turner Fernandez Turner and Bressler & Yauger. Columbus, Ga., incumbent Basset & Becker Advertising chose not to participate in the review, said president Jack Basset.
SRC will conceive, develop and execute an integrated advertising, marketing and public relations program designed to build awareness for Columbus Regional’s health, medical and educational services. Work will break after the first of the year.
“This is our first shot into the healthcare arena,” said agency president Frank Compton. “They’re taking a chance on us, but we think this is going to be an increasingly significant part of the advertising business as all the baby boomers continue growing older.”
“Everybody always says for any account they’ve ever pitched that they really, really want it, but there are some accounts you want more than others,” Riley said. “Part of the reason we won this is that we really demonstrated that we would put forward a major effort for this account.”