The Pharma Report: Lemieux Bedard

How an independent voice in Montreal is making waves in healthcare.
Lemieux Bédard’s expertise extends to the equally challenging animal pharma market too! Its campaign for Prascend used a smart quiz to increase awareness of an underdiagnosed equine disease. It boosted sales by 37%.

Lemieux Bédard’s expertise extends to the equally challenging animal pharma market too! Its campaign for Prascend used a smart quiz to increase awareness of an underdiagnosed equine disease.

Word is starting to get out about a well-kept secret in Montreal’s eastern townships — a female-led independent agency that’s turning heads with work for national healthcare clients.

Lemieux Bédard has more than 30 years experience working with major brands such as Bayer, Paladin Labs and Pendopharm, to name just a few. It wields deep expertise in reaching medical professionals with effective campaigns. Now that the industry is shifting, it increasingly finds itself fielding calls from healthcare brands looking to market to both medical professionals and consumers.

“Brands that were traditionally only talking to healthcare professionals are now realizing that the consumer has an influence,” says Catherine Savard, creative director at the 70-person agency. “They are looking to work in both markets, which means investing in fuller campaigns.”

Lemieux Bédard has evolved its offering in recent years beyond expert medical writers and pharma specialists to include creatives and strategists with consumer marketing backgrounds (Savard herself arrived in October 2018 with experience at Cossette, XM and Euro RSCG).

 By rejuvenating this legacy vitamin brand’s whole identity, the agency helped PediaVit gain access to millennials and Gen Z-ers through a string of digital strategies.

By rejuvenating this legacy vitamin brand’s whole identity, the agency helped PediaVit gain access to millennials and Gen Z-ers through a string of digital strategies.

It’s also made sure it can serve clients on a national scale, regardless of the target audience. “We often say bilingualism is in our DNA,” says Savard. Strolling through Lemieux Bédard’s offices would reveal something else unique about its workforce.

“We’re mostly women,” Savard says. “And we were founded by a woman — Suzanne Lemieux Bédard. Most of us are mothers and have a ‘second shift’ after we leave the office. So we’ve become very effective at getting things done on a tight schedule.”

Josée Gagnon, VP, client services who has been with the agency for more than 20 years, adds that “we work extremely hard, and we believe that our emphasis on a healthy work/life balance makes us more focused and this in turn produces better campaigns for our clients.” One skincare product that had seen initial success after its launch tasked the agency with spreading the word and keeping that momentum going. Lemieux Bédard’s team saw that those already-engaged users were posting glowing product reviews. It contacted a select few and interviewed them on-camera to create a series of online video testimonials.

Testimonials have proven effective in consumer markets, but present challenges to pharma brands. Canadian regulators strictly limit what they can say about products in the consumer sphere. Most consumers don’t know these intricate rules, so how can a testimonial remain truly unscripted and honest?

Lemieux Bédard expertly navigated this narrow course, creating a campaign that not only met regulators’ criteria, but resonated with consumers. More than 33% of those who saw the 90-second videos watched them in their entirety — well above industry benchmarks. The campaign also saw an increase in click-throughs to the brand’s website and drove an increase in coupon downloads.

While success like that is attracting welcome attention from the market, the company is working hard to ensure growth does not come at the cost of the unique culture that drives such success.

“There’s a fine line that agencies often stumble over,” Gagnon says. “They try to be small enough to be nimble, but big enough to handle work at scale. We have 70 full-time staff, including our translation teams, and a roster of expert freelancers. We’ve found the path that works.”

CONTACT:

Josee Gagnon

VP, Client Services

jgagnon@lemieuxbedard.com