Glaxo Consolidates Professional Ad Business

November 29, 2006
Pharmaceutical Executive

Volume 0, Issue 1

In a pitch of holding company vs. separate agencies, IPG nabs top prescription brands from WPP.

GlaxoSmithKline is consolidating an estimated $100-million worth of professional advertising for several of its most profitable prescription drug brands under the Interpublic Group holding company.

The business, which reportedly includes such well-known brands as Advair and Imitrex, was won out from under incumbent WPP agencies Grey Healthcare and Thomas Ferguson Associates, which pitched for the business as separate entities. IPG pitched for the account as a holding company.

The switchover should be completed by the end of the year. Once that happens, FCB Healthcare, Regan Campbell Ward McCann, and Torre Lazur McCann will be the primary agencies working on the accounts. They could also be joined by a number of other IPG agencies in other marketing disciplines. As of yet, though, DTC advertising and public relations efforts are not included in the consolidation.

Although IPG spokesperson Tom Cunningham would not confirm the $100-million figure, analyst reports are convincing in their predictions: Three of the reportedly included brands--Avandia, Advair, and Imitrex--are blockbuster earners for GSK. Advair in particular had above-average growth of 22 percent between 2004 and 2005, making it the fifth most profitable drug in the industry for that period. The asthma drug had worldwide sales of $4.5 billion in the first three quarters of 2006. Other GSK drugs rumored to now be under IPG?s wing include Avandamet (for diabetes), Fluarix and Relenza (for flu), and Trexima (for migraine).

Calls to GlaxoSmithKline were not immediately returned.