[GUIDE] Heartbeat-The Agency for Challenger Brands – Avis

meet bill,

the original



Every successful entrepreneur has their business origin story. But when it comes to Bill Drummy, the story isn’t clouded by movie-like clichés or shrouded in tales of a mercurial leader. It’s actually pretty straightforward: a really smart guy saw untapped opportunity in our changing digital world, he bravely said, “I’m in,” and then worked his tail off. Quite simply, Bill is a Challenger.

Always looking to confront the accepted thinking of the day, Bill makes bold predictions, invests early in the future, and constantly asks, “Why not?!” He is tenacious in his approach to marketing—pushing, questioning, challenging. He also inspires others with his generosity and empathy. Bill is the total leadership package.

In 2017, after nearly 20 years leading Heartbeat, Bill decided it was time to hand the reins of Heartbeat to new fearless leaders, Nadine Leonard and James Talerico. At the end of 2018 he officially retired, and now spends his time being pushed, questioned, and challenged by his teenage son, Will, and his effervescent wife, Barrie.

Although he no longer walks our halls, his influence is still felt everywhere at Heartbeat, from the way we work to the warm bond of our employee culture, and the manner in which everyone feels free to ask, just as he always did, “Why not?!”

So, what does the journey of a Fearless Founder really look like? Here is Bill’s brief history of Heartbeat time:



heartbeat is born

Based out of his home in Hoboken, New Jersey, the digital agency is birthed & aptly named Drumbeat Digital.



headfirst into healthcare

The agency’s roster expands with additional life science clients, not realizing the path it was soon to chart.



new york, neeew yoooork

Bada-bing, bada-boom, the growing company says goodbye to Jersey and heads to the Big Apple.



giving back with worldbeat

The agency’s philanthropic arm is birthed, and endures to this very day.



He’s Got Heart

With a client list now dominated by healthcare brands, the company’s name is changed to better reflect our focus: Heartbeat Digital.



Media Matters

Foreseeing fully integrated capabilities as a more effective and efficient way for clients to work, a media planning & buying practice is established, and AOR ambitions are set.



Mr. Drummy Goes to Washington

Bill schools the FDA on healthcare’s role in social media, sharing bold ideas with risk-averse regulators.



Bill and the gang

He’s Got Ideas

Heartbeat Digital is rebranded as Heartbeat Ideas to better reflect our big-time AOR status with clients.



Hall of Famer

Named to the DTC Hall of Fame, Bill is honored for his extraordinary achievement in the advancement of DTC marketing.



California, Here We Come

Heartbeat opens its Los Angeles doors, giving West Coast clients the energy of a « New York agency, » only with palm trees and better Mexican food.



Guiding the Future With Google

Bill’s provocative POV earns him a spot on the Google Healthcare Advisory Board.


Publicis Hearts Heartbeat

Our leader makes the big decision to join Publicis Health, the largest healthcare agency network in the world.



Rapid Rise

Heartbeat grows more than 50% in a year, a testament to the industry’s hunger for a boundary-pushing agency partner.



Awards Everywhere

Bill receives the prestigious PharmaVOICE Red Jacket Award, which highlights the most inspirational, motivational, and transformative individuals in the life sciences industry, and he’s named an Innovation Catalyst by MM&M.


The Torch Is Passed

Bill moves to Chairman Emeritus status, handing the Heartbeat reins to long-time partners & power pair Nadine Leonard & James Talerico.



Bidding Adieu

After 20 years of agency leadership, Bill officially retires at year’s end, with plans to read, write, take photographs, and have dinner with his family every single night.

[GUIDE] Heartbeat-The Agency for Challenger Brands – Avis
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