J&J weighs pruning its agencies

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Johnson & Johnson is considering consolidating advertising and marketing for its pharmaceutical brands into one or two companies, a company spokesperson told MM&M.

“We're looking at a number of different options, including perhaps folding it into one or two holding companies,” said Mark Monseau, director, corporate media relations, adding that: “It's too early to speculate what the outcome will be.”

J&J is conducting a global review of its pharma agencies, Advertising Age reported last week. The cross-channel review, including consumer- and professional-focused efforts, excludes PR and does not extend to other product groups, such as devices and consumer brands.

Like its 250-plus companies scattered across 50-some countries in five continents, J&J's marketing and advertising business is spread around.

Avenue A | Razorfish is a major J&J agency, handling assignments for Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Ortho Women's Health and Urology, Ortho-McNeil Neurologics and a wealth of J&J Consumer Group brands, according to PMD's Product and Agency Index. The digital powerhouse's parent, aQuantive, was purchased by Microsoft last year.

Among the more traditional holding companies, Interpublic Group's Integrated Communications Corp. handles work on Ortho Women's Health & Urology and J&J Consumer Group brands, while Torre Lazur McCann handles the Harmonic franchise for Ethicon Endo-Surgery. Omnicom's Flashpoint Medica handles the professional assignment for Cordis' Cypher Stent. Altum, a unit of WPP's CommonHealth, services Ortho Biotech's brands, including Procrit, while the network's Noesis handles J&J Consumer Group brands. InVentiv's GSW Worldwide handles much of the Ortho-McNeil Neurologics portfolio.

Last month, AdWeek reported that Pfizer had issued a request for capabilities information from its US consumer and professional advertising and PR agencies, along with some non-roster shops. Pfizer said that so far, it was just looking to understand its agency partners better. In 2003, AstraZeneca consolidated most of its advertising business into two holding companies, WPP and Publicis.
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