Pfizer has consolidated its media planning assignment with Carat, part of the Dentsu Aegis Network, according to sources.
As a result, planning for the company’s over-the-counter brands such as Advil and Chapstick, housed within the consumer healthcare division, are shifting from MDC’s Assembly to Carat, which already handles all of the client’s media buys and planning for its other units.
The company spends an estimated $600 to $700 million annually on ads with about $100 million earmarked for the Consumer Healthcare division.
The shift follows a number of executive changes at the client last year including the departure in November of Brian Groves, who had been CMO for the U.S. Consumer Healthcare division for three years. Earlier in the year a new group president, Albert Bourla, was appointed to oversee the company’s healthcare, vaccines and oncology units.
Sales at the consumer healthcare operation have not been very robust of late. In the fourth quarter, revenue at the unit was up just 1% and for the full year 2014 it was up 3%.
According to sources the change had been expected for a while but was only recently announced internally. There will be a transition period before Assembly officially exits the business.
Assembly declined to comment referring calls to the client. Carat officials declined comment. Client reps didn’t respond to a query for comment.