Cooney/Waters: Agency Business Report 2013

Restrictive budgets, uncertainty over federal policy, and a nail biter of a presidential race all resulted in a decrease in revenue for Cooney/Waters of 7.2%, to just under $19 million.

Principals: Lenore Cooney, founder and CEO; Timothy Bird, president and COO (pictured); Anita Bose, chief strategist
Ownership: Creston
Subsidiary agencies: The Corkery Group, Alembic Health Comms
Office: New York
Revenue: $18,961,000
Headcount: 70

Restrictive budgets, uncertainty over federal policy, and a nail biter of a presidential race all resulted in a decrease in revenue for Cooney/Waters of 7.2%, to just under $19 million.

Despite the rocky atmosphere, Cooney/Waters took steps to plan for the future in key ways, including hiring Anita Bose as its first chief strategist. She joined the firm from inVentiv Health where she was VP of external communications.

“We have clients that we have worked with for a long time, which is a good thing,” says Timothy Bird, president and COO, “but we need to diversify our client base, and that's why we brought on Bose.” Before inVentiv, Bose had leadership positions at MSLGroup and Cohn & Wolfe.

Another step was to further embrace the digital sector by kicking off its first campaign that was primarily social media based for the biopharmaceutical company UCB. The effort involved creating an online community called Parkinson's More than Motion on Facebook, providing a space for those affected by Parkinson's disease to interact and learn from others. The initiative included a reality-style video series depicting families living with the condition.

Like many pharmaceutical campaigns that utilize social media channels, the effort is unbranded due to the regulatory scrutiny the industry can face online. While unbranded efforts may not always have the same impact on a company's bottom line that a branded campaign can have, pharmaceutical companies still believe it is important to launch such endeavors. “They see their responsibility as being an educational resource for consumers,” says Bose.

Consolidation and key wins
Cooney/Waters also won a key new account with Zoetis, formerly known as Pfizer Animal Health before it was spun off via an initial public offering earlier this year. The firm promotes the company's pig medication business.

Last year, the firm and its two subsidiaries consolidated from three New York locations into one Chelsea office.

At the start of 2013, the agency decided not to re-bid for Sanofi's Pasteur vaccine business, a multimillion-dollar account the firm had worked on the account for about 20 years. “Two decades is a long time,” explains Anita Bose, “but at some point relationships have to end.”

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