Tracking Down the Best Agency...For You - Pharmaceutical Executive


Tracking Down the Best Agency...For You

Agency Confidential

AbelsonTaylor is likely the largest independent medical advertising agency in the world. And independence is what Dale Taylor (cofounder and president) cites as the source from which all else emanates. "Many of the things that make us a little different have a lot to do with our independence. The lack of a holding company demanding an ever-growing revenue stream of 20 percent a year (or some other arbitrary amount) lets us make different decisions than we might make otherwise," he says.

From independence also comes stability. "Our strangely low staff turnover is one result," says Taylor. "Twelve years ago when people first started talking about how creative we were, we had 21 creatives. Since then, two of those folks have retired and 16 still work here, and most are now CDs or ACDs. (We have 121 creatives now). In contrast to network agencies, our independence lets us react differently to business slowdowns—and the staff notices. We can hang on during the inevitable slow spots, so they do too."

The agency is run by a group of 14 people who have the title of VP Creative or VP Account Director. "No one in these positions has ever left the agency. Many have spent most or all of their careers here and all share a common set of values in terms of the way we treat people, the way we treat clients (and their money), and the kind of work we do. It is rare that network agencies can offer this kind of singular focus and long-term stability." Sound staid? Taylor agrees: "Not as exciting as some new trademarked insight-creation algorithm with a real clever name, but it is what makes us different."

And successful...very successful.


What's not to like? Independent, creative, proven track record: AbelsonTaylor's income last year exceeded $50 million. They've doubled in size in three years. They've just moved in June from their original home in Chicago's East Loop to new digs with massive office space. They took on 17 new accounts in the last year. They create DTC ads that hit more than miss. Check out their Web site: It's a model of creative elegance, great interactive, and no clutter. It even includes financial information. Clients are, among many others: Abbott Laboratories, Biogen Idec, Daiichi Sankyo, Eli Lilly , Genentech, Lilly ICOS, Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America.

33 West Monroe, Chicago, IL 60603
T: 312-894-5500 •


Topin & Associates

THEY COMPARE THEMSELVES to a chili pepper. They even call their proprietary approach Pepper Logic. How creative is that? But then Topin & Associates is in Chicago. And they combine a kind of Midwestern mind-set with not-so-hidden heat. Al Topin is president. Warm, seemingly conservative, he's been married to the same woman for 35 years. He's a father and a grandfather, and looks a little like Burl Ives. His personality gets hotter when you realize he's the pepper along with a jazzy, ad-man pedigree that includes a stint at J. Walter Thomson. Talking to Topin about his agency's creativity, he demurs and says we must be thinking of AbelsonTaylor. So, he's modest, too. His agency is hugely successful. Ranked 20 on Advertising Age's top healthcare agencies' list, Topin's 2006 earnings were reported at $4.7 million. Topin himself is pictured on far right with team members Abby Mansfield and John Diaz.


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