LeoHealth to Key on Consumer

Burnett Unit Designed to Take Advantage of Booming Category
CHICAGO–The executives in charge of Leo Burnett’s newest unit, LeoHealth, want to take a consumer-focused approach to healthcare advertising.
“We have to bring a consumer perspective to this,” said Toby Sachs, chief executive officer of the new unit. He said most advertisers focus on the illnesses rather than the people who are ill.
Gerry Miller, president and chief creative officer of the new unit, said most health-oriented advertising, particularly direct-to-consumer prescription medication, is still more intent on addressing symptoms and problems rather than building brands.
“There’s a whole dimension that’s being missed … to understand what the effect [a product] has on the body and soul,” Miller said.
LeoHealth will account for an initial $150 million in billings and handle brands as diverse as Prozac, Procter & Gamble’s Pepto Bismol and NatureMade vitamins. The unit will employ 45 staffers from all disciplines.
Though Burnett has long handled healthcare clients, breaking them out into their own unit gives the agency a chance to “raise a flag” and draw attention to its abilities in the area, said Mary Bishop, president and chief marketing officer of Leo Burnett USA, who conceived of the unit.
“We’re showcasing what we’ve got,” she said. “When you talk to doctors, you need a specialized expertise. The hole that LeoHealth fills is building consumer brands out of healthcare products.”
The healthcare category is expected to continue to grow as the baby-boom population ages and consumers become more informed about ailments and their remedies, Bishop added.
Rounding out the management ranks of LeoHealth are managing director Jan Anderson, director of planning Leila Green, and Judy Franks, who will have the title of healthcare contact strategist and act as a liaison between the unit and Burnett’s Starcom USA media operation.
Burnett owns a majority of business-to-business healthcare shop Williams Labadie, and Bcom3 sister agency D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles has its own healthcare unit, Medicus. Neither operation will be affected by the new unit, Bishop said. K