Healthcare agency and Miami mainstay VS/Brooks is refounding after 25 years, with a broadened focus on the health and wellness marketing and a new name: The 3rd Eye. The agency also named a new leadership team and launched a new consulting division to help CEOs develop marketing organizations.
“Two years of pandemic living have taught us all that nothing is more important than health — total health, physical and mental,” says Chief Vision Officer Diana Brooks. “From there, it was pretty easy for us to realize what our mission was. We want to take care of brands that take care of people.”
Given the agency’s mission, it quickly became obvious that the name “The 3rd Eye,” which represents wisdom and a holistic approach to health in cultures worldwide, would best embody the agency, its mission and work on behalf of clients such as Cleveland Clinic, Humana and Curaleaf. The name is personal, as well — long before the name change, Brooks tattooed the eye on her wrist to remind her to always follow her intuition.
To reflect that view, the agency, one of the most dominant players in one of the most competitive health insurance markets in the country, will widen its scope to include other health and wellness categories, including pharmaceutical, fitness, supplements, health tech and mental health.
Brooks started the agency with now-retired co-founder Vivian Santos in the mid-90s, when the agency world, especially in Miami, was dominated by men. They blazed a new path in healthcare, at the time a sterile and pharma-focused world where marketing consisted of stock images of doctors and patients shaking hands. They shifted the focus to helping seniors live well and make the right choices, showing them surfing and riding Harleys — and, in one memorable ad, even put together a dance line of retired Rockettes! The approach was soon copied in healthcare marketing across the country.
The 3rd Eye combines a deep understanding of its audiences with creativity that moves them to action. “Whether we’re working with an aging senior population that is new to telehealth, or with Gen Z trying to navigate health insurance, we understand that people don’t make healthy choices just because someone told them it would be a good idea,” says Chief Creative Officer Rob Canales. “You need to make them feel – right down in their soul – that they have the power to change their lives.”
Canales, along with Brooks and Chief Operating Officer Anais Rodriguez, form the core of The 3rd Eye’s new leadership team. Together, this trio has increased revenue during the pandemic by more than 200% as clients leaned on them to develop new communication strategies for patients.
Canales started at the agency as an intern and fast-tracked his way to CCO by the age of 28. He led the agency’s transition from a traditional broadcast focus to digital fluency and launched “Champagne Campaign,” brainstorming sessions that included the entire agency (regardless of department) generating ideas over — of course — champagne. The result was a 37% increase in upselling creative campaigns and growth of the agency from 15 people to 60.
Rodriguez joined The 3rd Eye from powerhouse agency Zubi Advertising, where she helped lead her team at Zubi to win a Clio for their World Cup work for Ford. She spearheaded The 3rd Eye’s response to Covid, making the agency a permanent hybrid workplace. With 93% of The 3rd Eye’s workforce comprised of young working mothers, she turned HR into “employee experience” initiatives such as Off the Grid time to pick up children from school, longer parental leave, and free subscriptions to wellness apps.
The 3rd Eye also announced See Level, a consulting practice that specializes in marketing strategy for the C-suite. The unit draws on the agency’s experience in advising healthcare CEOs how to set up their marketing organizations, hire CMOs, reach multicultural audiences, and create a brand in a market where branding is often an afterthought. The new practice will encompass both healthcare and the broader health and wellness market.
A particular strength of The 3rd Eye is Hispanic marketing, one where its Miami base gives it an inherent advantage — more than 95% of the agency is Hispanic. Brooks, a daughter of Cuban immigrants, says marketing health and wellness to Hispanics requires understanding the cultural truths that drive health decisions, including family relationships and distrust of authority. Her own passion is for mental health for underserved communities. “In the Hispanic community, mental health is something for the crazies,” she says. “That’s why we work within traditions to change mindsets.”