The average agency-client relationship is about three years. Ritz Communications had the honor of working with Bob Consalvo for more than 15 years.
“They weren’t just an agency, they were my team,” Bob says. “I relied on them as if they reported to me within the company. It was a deeper relationship—much more trusting and collaborative.”
The Ritz team relied on Bob, too.
“Bob was a master of the old-school fundamentals of PR—powerful writing, clear consideration of the audiences he was addressing, and a strong understanding of his extremely technical subject matter,” Elisabeth says. “His guidance brought out the best in our entire team and earned the admiration of everyone who worked with him.”
Now retired, Bob was Director of Global Communications for Schering-Plough and then Merck after the companies merged. Over the long agency engagement, Bob and his Ritz team managed public relations for a portfolio of oncology, biotech, and hospital pharmaceuticals. Together, they followed the drug development and therapeutic progression for some of the industry’s most significant advancements.
“It was a tremendous opportunity,” recalls Ritz team member Molly Watson. The time afforded the team the rare chance “to build relationships, to understand the science, to see the evolution of the company through an acquisition, and to herald in an age of computer technology that impacted every facet of the industry and informed the news and the work that we’ve done.”
A career highlight for Bob was witnessing the more than 20-year progression in the treatment of Hepatitis C, from a frightening and misunderstood disease, through a series of debilitating therapies, to ultimately finding a manageable cure.
The PR team served a vitally important role in patient education: First they helped people overcome the stigma associated with a blood-borne virus they likely contracted decades before any symptoms emerged. Then, they provided reassurance that, although the treatment was long and complicated, patients were on the right path.
“There were so many little steps of improvement—tweaking the regimen or finding something new,” Bob says. “It was a challenge, but it was very rewarding to be part of the whole continuum and to ultimately find a cure.”
Finding a cure … for a PR team in healthcare, there’s no better news than that.