LEC's 25th birthday: Everyday people to global brand ambassadors

Written by Sonja Rnic on Thursday 24th May 2018

Last month marked LEC's 25th birthday! To celebrate, Sonja Rnic, Senior Creative Copywriter, examines the journey LEC have come on to get to where they are now...

Back in 1993, a number of exciting things were going on. The Ford Mondeo nudged aside the old Sierra as sales reps clamoured to sign up for their new company car. The first train made it through the shiny new Channel Tunnel before the great unwashed were allowed to board the following year. And Meat Loaf declared cryptically that he would do anything for love – but he won’t do 'that'.

Meanwhile, three guys called Mike, David and Phil were embarking on a game-changing pharma campaign. Mike Lane, David Earl and Phil Cox had pooled their extensive expertise in the pharma marketing sphere to launch LEC, a brand communications agency with big ideas. And their break came in 1993, when a major pharma player hired the fledgling company to give their blockbuster reflux and ulcer drug a boost in sales.

“Tell doctors that our product is the brand leader because it is so effective”

The brief was simple. “Tell doctors that our product is the brand leader because it is so effective”. But Lane, Earl and Cox wanted to dig a little deeper, to work out if the client’s perception of the market was accurate enough to build a successful campaign upon. With their knowledge and expertise, backed up by research, they re-positioned the product as not just effective – everyone already knew that – but as an everyday therapy, not one that needs to be held in reserve, not one for special cases that needed tough treatment.

First came the headline, squarely targeting the campaign at, “Everyday people”. Then came the visuals. In a startling juxtaposition to the words, the visuals showed extraordinary people that would stand out from the marketing noise and above all, be memorable.

The result was electric. Spontaneous recall was double that of any other brand. The client saw UK sales rise by 230% in 4 years. And the campaign won more creative awards than any pharmaceutical advertising campaign ever had before.

"You don't build a company that goes from strength to strength over a quarter of a century on just one campaign"

But if this creative campaign put LEC on the map, it took hard work and determination to keep it there – not to mention the kind of challenging, left-field thinking that had made their maiden campaign so effective. You don’t build a company that goes from strength to strength over a quarter of a century on just one campaign. You also don’t get far as a creative agency if you trot out the same old clichés and re-hashed ideas; continually evolving creativity not only in execution but in business development and strategy is essential. That’s why LEC are not just still here – they’re thriving.

In January 2011, the course of LEC’s destiny changed once again, when they became the first company to join OPEN Health. OPEN Health had come from similar beginnings, with four people around a kitchen table, a stack of industry experience, and global ambition. It was the perfect fit. As OPEN Health expanded, taking on healthcare-related expertise in market research, PR, health informatics, medical communications, market access, real world data, digital and more, LEC had access to a unique, growing set of resources that could inform their brand comms like never before. By partnering with other OPEN Health companies (currently Reynolds MacKenzie, Harvey Walsh, Succinct, pH Associates, OPEN Access Consulting, The EarthWorks, Accretio, Liberum, OPEN Digital and OPEN Dubai), LEC was able to offer their clients insights and know-how from multiple viewpoints across the healthcare industry.

In two and a half decades, the senior leadership team has shifted and evolved. LEC stalwart Kim Hughes is now Creative Director and joint MD with Marie Little, a former poisons specialist! The team has also expanded across two offices, with the London branch overseen by MD Claire Nysia Gill, and the complete London-Marlow operation under the wing of senior partner at OPEN Health, Carwyn Jones – one of the founders of digital health solutions experts The EarthWorks.

Proud of their 25-year history, in 2018 LEC marked the occasion of their silver anniversary with a gala party at the Xenia hotel in London. Founder Mike Lane joined a selection of original members of LEC and a whole bunch of newcomers (mere whippersnappers who had been with LEC for 5 or 6 years to starry-eyed youngsters in their first year of brand comms) for an evening of speeches, remembrance and celebration. The toast? Here’s to another 25 years.

"We have been delighted with the acquisition of LEC and have enjoyed driving and supporting the team to grow from strength to strength. The team have evolved and developed their offering in an ever changing market to ensure they stay one step ahead of the game and that is clearly demonstrated by the strong and successful 60 man team" — Sandy Royden, Joint CEO, OPEN Health.

LEC believe in Leading the strategy, Exploring the science and Creating impactful solutions together. If you want to see how they can fire up your brand, just give them a call.

Marie Little: (0)1628 897 808

Kim Hughes: (0)1628 481 112

Claire Nysia Gill: (0)207 861 2550