Pharmaceutical marketer GlaxoSmithKline is holding talks with media agencies that are likely to lead to a review of its $1.6 billion global media account, currently held by about eleven agencies globally, across all communication channels, including TV, print and digital.
Sources close to UK-based GSK say the marketer is currently at the stage of talking to agencies, trying to get a feel for its relationships and options before setting up a pitch that will narrow the roster to just two or three agencies.
The move comes five months after Sameer Singh joined GSK as vice president and head of global media with a mandate to develop a new approach to media for the global consumer healthcare and pharmaceutical giant. Singh joined from Procter & Gamble, where he was vice president media, Asia and China.
In December, a team WPP, led by Grey London and Brand Union, picked up the global corporate branding business, but in the past WPP has fared less well on GSK’s media roster, with its Mediacom network losing the US business to Omnicom’s PHD in December 2010.
Mediacom also lost its GSK media business in Germany, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and Austria to Publicis Groupe’s Starcom MediaVest in 2010, although it retains the $90 million UK media planning and buying account. Starcom MediaVest handles the account in Central and Eastern Europe.
Just few months before PHD won the massive US account in 2010, Group M’s worldwide chief business development officer, Andrew
McLean, left WPP’s Group M to join PHD as CEO in the US. He left the firm last March.
GSK is No. 23 in the Ad Age DataCentre’s ranking of the top 100 global marketers, spending $1.6 billion on global measured media in 2011, a 2.8 per cent decline from the previous year. The company spent $551.4 million in the US, according to Kantar Media, down 23 per cent from 2010. However, in 2011, it boosted its measured media spending 13 per cent outside the US to $1.04 billion.
Recently, GSK announced results for the fourth quarter of 2012. Group sales fell one per cent to around $40 billion, with the US market down two per cent and Europe down seven per cent. The company is looking at selling off two of its biggest UK brands, juice-based soft drink Ribena and energy drink Lucozade, in line with its focus on core healthcare brands and the faster-growing emerging markets.