2 Agencies Ally on Medical Devices Market

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Cronin/Wallwork Curry formed a non-equity alliance with ARRCO Medical Advertising Inc., a medical devices marketing division of Build MarketShare Inc. in Norwood, MA.

The two agencies aim to offer creative services to the growing medical devices and life sciences market. As the medical devices market consolidates, companies increasingly are directly targeting consumers just like the pharmaceutical industry began doing a decade ago.

"Our thought was to fill this new, emerging need," said Bill Cronin, president of Cronin/Wallwork Curry, a Boston agency.

Both agencies bring strengths to the table. Cronin/Wallwork Curry is a division of 56-year-old Cronin and Company Inc., Glastonbury, CT. It has clients like Steinway & Sons, Keurig Coffee Systems, SunLife Financial, Bertucci's and Digital Federal Credit Union.

ARRCO, founded in 1972, also is a full-service agency. It has accounts like Johnson & Johnson Orthopedics, Bard Interventional Co., Corning Medical and Scientific, Spire Biomedical and Lidak Pharmaceuticals. It also has DePuy Mitek, another Johnson & Johnson company.

With such rosters and skills, the agencies stand a better chance in shootouts.

"We've had opportunities where we're on the consideration list, and yet in our portfolios we lacked the diversity of experience," Cronin said.

The partnership signals the growing confidence of the medical devices industry in direct-to-consumer advertising. A debate in the past few years has involved the effect of, say, consumers influencing surgeons in their equipment-buying decisions. Also, manufacturers were anxious about how physicians would perceive DTC advertising without jeopardizing longstanding relationships.

"What's happened, much to their surprise, is that physicians and surgeons have responded overwhelmingly to the Web as an information source," said Jerry Reicher, president of ARRCO.

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