NEW YORK: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has hired CooperKatz & Company as its first PR AOR after a competitive review.
The pitch initially involved nine firms. The hospital whittled the group to three finalists, said Christine Hickey, VP of strategic communications and public affairs at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
CooperKatz, which began working on the account in October, was selected because of its thorough approach during the review process, she explained. Hickey added that her organization had strong chemistry with the firm and liked its "relatively small and independent" nature.
"There’s a lot of increased attention to cancer, and it’s a competitive landscape," explained Hickey. "Despite the fact that we are highly regarded and have a strong reputation, we really needed some assistance in telling our story as well as amplifying some of the additional resources we are putting into our marketing efforts."
In February, the hospital hired Pereira & O'Dell in New York and Media Storm as its creative and media buying AORs, respectively, and Hickey said the cancer center is looking at ways to revamp its digital offerings and website. It works with DigitasLBi on digital efforts and Phase2 on online content management.
For the rest of this year, CooperKatz will work with Memorial Sloan Kettering’s internal PR team and its other agency partners to create a strategic communications plan for 2015. The contract will run for one year.
"The goal for us is to really help people talk about cancer and change the way they think about cancer in a more positive, engaging way," said Hickey.
CooperKatz will engage national and global media outlets and collaborate with Digitas on social media plans. The agency will also support its Cancer Alliance, an initiative set up to transfer knowledge and research from the hospital to cancer-care providers around the country more efficiently.
"This is a very transformative time for cancer treatment," explained Ralph Katz, principal and founder of CooperKatz. "So much has happened in the last 12 to 18 months, so this is a perfect time to go out and help all the different audiences affected by this to understand what is happening in the treatment of cancer."
He added that CooperKatz, with a team of seven staffers on the account, will work to tell proactive stories about Memorial Sloan Kettering, including how its lab, clinical work, and patient care differ from other cancer-treatment centers.
Budget information on the account was not disclosed.