Going into its sixth year, Ignite Health is celebrating another year of double-digit growth. Agency revenue for 2006 grew 33%, up from $11 million in 2005 to $15 million in 2006, with a three-fold increase during the past four years. Three new account wins and additional business from existing clients made 2006 another banner year for the agency.
In February 2007, inVentiv Health Inc. (inventivhealth.com) signed a definitive deal to acquire Ignite. Ignite will operate under the inVentiv Communications division, which provides a full suite of integrated health-care marketing and communications solutions.
Most of Ignite’s business in 2006 came from direct-to-patient interactive assignments, reflecting a concerted effort to solidify the agency’s branding initiatives. In early 2006, Ignite strengthened its focus on educating people living with chronic diseases and those that care for them, allowing clients to create messages that link all parties, including those who influence, prescribe, purchase, or use health-care products.
To underscore this focus, Ignite launched a new corporate Website in September, ignitehealth.com. The site spotlights video clips of real patients speaking out on HIV, hepatitis, diabetes, breast cancer, and cataracts, and offers their personal insights and provides educational information about their conditions and treatments. The site has won a number of awards, including the WWW Health Awards Best of Show in the Most Innovative category. "To stress our commitment to this patient-centered strategy, we deliberately put patients up front, allowing information on the agency’s services, clients, awards, and press appearances to take a back seat," says Jackie Herr, CEO.
This year’s accomplishments
Building on its reputation and success in the fields of ophthalmology, oncology, infectious disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, mental illness, and cystic fibrosis, Ignite generated substantial organic growth from some of its long-standing clients, including Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. (amylin.com), Bausch & Lomb Inc. (bausch.com), Cephalon Inc. (cephalon.com), Genomic Health Inc. (genomichealth.com), Gilead Sciences Inc. (gilead.com), and Eli Lilly and Co. (lilly.com). Three new business wins came from Bayer Health (bayerhealth.com), Ovation Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ovationpharma.com), and Valeant Pharmaceuticals (valeant.com).
Among Ignite’s major undertakings in 2006 was the creation of Incendia Health Studios, which develops and distributes unbranded disease-education content for millions of people who use the Internet and other digital technologies to seek and share information on chronic diseases. Incendia (incendiahealth.com) uses the power of new and emerging technology to provide engaging health information tailored to the specific needs and interests of vast numbers of people. Incendia’s main objective is to serve patients and caregivers affected by chronic diseases — people who are, in essence, the agency’s "clients." Managers say this mission of serving consumers first and foremost has made Incendia the first and only purpose-driven media company in the field of chronic disease education.
Incendia projects are funded by advertising, sponsorships, and grants but will not promote specific products or services. Among the programs developed by Incendia are Live With It, BannerMoments.com, and HepB.tv.
Winner of the 2007 Best Patient Digital Campaign Manny Award, Live With It (livewithit.com) includes a series of short animations that uses reality-based storylines to follow the lives of fictional characters learning to deal with the fact that they are HIV-positive. The first-of-its-kind series examines the emotional aspects of each character’s journey and uses a mix of nontraditional media — a Website, podcasts, blogs, a message board, partnership agreements, and merchandising — to extend its reach to a broad audience.
BannerMoments.com is an interactive Website designed to create a growing online circle of support for women with breast cancer. The site offers visitors a proprietary tool, developed by Incendia, that allows them to create personal Web banners to express individual messages about their fight against breast cancer. The banners appear on the BannerMoments site permanently and are designed to trigger discussions of breast cancer from many points of view. Incendia will soon be expanding this concept to other disease states.
HepB.tv is an online interactive TV network for hepatitis B patients. Visitors can watch a variety of educational programs, join discussions with other viewers, and obtain critical information on hepatitis B for themselves or to share with others. The site offers video clips, community forums, blogs, chat rooms, and advice from prominent medical specialists in the field.
Structure and services
Ms. Herr is responsible for corporate, operational, and financial management. Mr. Riley heads up new business and joint venture development. Mr. Fair is overseeing art and copy for all agency print and electronic projects. Mr. Gratton is in charge of developing new technologies to enhance Ignite’s service offerings. Mr. Gratton is also president, Incendia Health Studios.
With expertise in the fields of oncology, infectious disease, and ophthalmology, Ignite specializes in chronic conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, central nervous system, and cystic fibrosis. Although continuing to provide clients with traditional ad agency services, Ignite made a deliberate decision in 2006 to focus on Internet-based patient-education initiatives.
"Our foundation is built on in-depth knowledge of disease states and science behind treatments, and we have a comprehensive understanding of Internet innovations that help build brand loyalty and grow disease awareness, education, and compliance," Mr. Riley says.
Beyond traditional e-marketing programs, Ignite reaches out to grassroots groups that help shape and refine the agency’s creative solutions and recommendations. This includes working closely with advocacy groups and thought leaders and monitoring the trends and buzz created by patients, health-care professionals, and legislators, keeping the agency in close contact with trend-setters in health care and the Internet. Ignite creates customized grassroots programs for its clients, including social networking initiatives within branded and unbranded sites, incorporating blogs, message boards, and word-of-mouth marketing efforts.
Ignite points to its West Coast location as a boon to its focus on electronic communications, attracting talent nationwide and from client converts.