Schering-Plough names Omnicom, Publicis to handle Rx ads

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Schering-Plough has consolidated marketing and communications for its prescription drugs into Publicis Groupe and Omnicom Group following a 7-month review. The company also heard capabilities presentations from WPP and Havas for the business.
The decision will cost WPP Group agencies some business. CommonHealth's Ferguson handled professional advertising for Clarinex and Nasonex. Last year, the WPP network's Quantum Group lost two big consumer accounts – Clarinex and Levitra – to Publicis' Saatchi & Saatchi. Schering-Plough spent $104 million – more than a third of its total ad spend -- on consumer advertising for Clarinex in 2003, according to IMS Health and TNS Media Intelligence. Schering-Plough took over U.S. marketing of Bayer's primary care products, including the co-marketing of Levitra with GlaxoSmithKline, in September as Bayer refocused its U.S. business on high-profit specialty products.
In addition, Havas' Euro RSCG Life will lose some overseas business, including the company's asthma franchise in Spain and Hepatitis-C treatment PegIntron in Germany. Schering-Plough has not yet decided how to reassign the brands between Publicis and Omnicom.
The decision is another major win for Publicis, which recently claimed the lion's share of the Sanofi-Aventis business. Though Schering-Plough chief Fred Hassan worked with Publicis network Saatchi & Saatchi in his days at Pharmacia, Publicis had no accounts with the company prior to its Levitra and Clarinex wins. Omnicom, by contrast, has substantial business with the firm. Lyons Lavey Nickel Swift handles Bayer's anti-infectives franchise, including the Avelox and Cipro brands, and Omnicom's Corbett Accel handles Merck and Schering-Plough's Zetia while BBDO Worldwide handles Nasonex.
Schering-Plough's global advertising spend is estimated at around $400 million, though that figure includes OTC brands not covered by the consolidation. The company slashed advertising spend in 2003 and 2004 as it underwent a restructuring. From April 2003 to March 2004, the company spent $88.1 million on DTC advertising in the U.S., according to IMS Health – a 42 percent drop year-on-year – making it the 12th biggest DTC advertising spender. Similarly, the firm spent $2.8 million on journal ads from January through November 2004, down from $3.2 million for the same period in 2003, according to PERQ/HCI.

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