GSK shifts professional advertising on 6 accounts from WPP to IPG

GlaxoSmithKline is shifting professional advertising on six brands into Interpublic Group from WPP, the company said. All parties declined to name the accounts involved, but they are understood to include Advair (asthma), Avodart (benign prostatic hyperplasia), Avandia/Avandamet (diabetes) plus two other unnamed vaccines and a prescription product. Advair was handled by Grey Healthcare, while Avodart and Avandia/Avandamet were handled by CommonHealth’s Ferguson. An IPG spokesman said the additional work will be spread across FCB HealthCare and Torre Lazur McCann, as well as other agencies. IPG consumer ad units BBDO NY and McCann HumanCare already do the DTC advertising for Avandia/Avandamet and Avodart, respectively. The decision to consolidate with IPG followed a review involving both holding companies. “We’re continually working to improve operations,” Maryanne Rhyne, a GSK spokesperson, told MM&M. “We saw an opportunity to increase creativity, improve productivity and achieve cost savings. A cross-functional team held some extensive discussions with the agency partners and came up with this decision.” Advair is likely the biggest of the brands. GSK spent $103 million on professional promotion for the drug in 2005 – a figure including office and hospital promotion dollars as well as journal advertising – according to IMS Integrated Professional Services (see IMS Health Report in the May 2006 issue of MM&M). However, the brand did not make the top 25 advertised to professionals for the first six months of 2006, according to PERQ/HCI. “WPP is a trusted and important business partner,” Rhyne added. “They represent a large portion of our DTC advertising. But at this point in time, WPP agencies are not part of our professional advertising.”