Less than two weeks after completing its acquisition of the Merck consumer health business, Bayer has shifted U.S. media planning and buying duties on that account from Interpublic’s Initiative to WPP’s MediaCom without a review, sources said. MediaCom has handled Bayer’s media assignment since 2011.
The Merck unit spends an estimated $150 million a year on ads.
Bayer closed the Merck deal on Oct. 1, paying $14.2 billion and acquiring a business that is primarily comprised of products in the cough, cold, allergy, sinus & flu; dermatology (including sun care); foot health; and gastrointestinal categories. Brands include Claritin (allergy), Coppertone (sun care), RestoraLAX (gastrointestinal), hydraSense (cold), and Dr. Scholl's (foot care).
According to Bayer, the acquisition makes it the second-largest company globally in non-prescription medication -- behind the combined over-the-counter businesses of Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline, following the completion of their announced joint venture in 2015. And it puts Bayer ahead of the world's previous industry leader Johnson & Johnson, the company said.
Bayer also said it is now the OTC leader in North and Latin America and the leader in dermatology and gastrointestinal treatments. The company has also advanced to the number two position in the cough, cold, allergy, sinus and flu category and remains the number two in nutritionals and number three in analgesics.
MediaCom declined to comment on the shift.