With latest hires, Klick sees sign of more creative times in pharma marketing

Healthcare used to be a handicap when Klick Inc. chief creative director Glenn Zujew went hunting for talent.

Glenn Zujew

"People weren't out on a Saturday night bragging about how they just launched a new black box website. It was Nike and Reebok that got bragged about. They saw healthcare as the back burner creatively. It was footprints in the sand or couples riding bikes," he said.

But things have changed in digital pharma in just a few years. With Google ($GOOG) and Apple ($AAPL) getting involved in the industry, Klick found that more creatives from top consumer brands such as Nike and Harley Davidson were willing to join its team.

This week, Klick announced even more new talent: a creative chief for its science visualization practice (who is also a former Dallas Cowboy offensive guard) and two additional creative directors. Stephen Biale, co-founder of Hurd Studios, will lead animators, illustrators, and virtual reality specialists in the new practice area focusing on scientific problem-solving using 3D animation and virtual reality experiences. The new CDs are Kevin Simcock, who has worked on brands including Volvo, Samsung and Colgate; and Brent Turnbull from Y&R where he worked on accounts including Pfizer ($PFE), Ford and Jaguar.

Creativity changes are happening on the client side as well, with more pharma companies willing to invest in marketing and take creative chances, Zujew said.

That's all creating a chain reaction of marketing creativity in healthcare. Top creatives and technologists are drawn to more interesting work in healthcare. They in turn produce more creative marketing work, which then draws even more interest from top talent, and so on.

"A-list people are now attracted to healthcare marketing because it's more interesting and cooler than ever before," Zujew said. "Now people could be working on 3D Oculus Rift projects or MOA (mechanism of action) videos or working on a conference with Bill Clinton. … Right now a lot of eyes are looking to healthcare for the newest things."

Biale said he was drawn to Klick by the coordinated and advanced creative potential it offered, as well as the fact that it's an independent agency.

"At the core of what we do is visual storytelling," he said. "It used to be that was only video; now we can do holograms, 3DTV and Oculus Rift 3D. The ability to articulate a story is enhanced."

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