GSK Completes $1 Billion-Plus Global Media Review

GlaxoSmithKline has completed a media agency review that began over the summer, and has awarded incumbents MediaCom and Mindshare, both parts of WPP and PHD, an Omnicom unit, portions of the business, GSK has confirmed.

The pharmaceutical giant is estimated to spend more than $1 billion annually on ads worldwide. According to Kantar Media, GSK spent roughly $370 million on ads in the U.S. last year.

Details were sketchy on the exact assignments that were awarded. While there were some shifts, it’s believed that PHD will continue to handle the bulk of the client’s North America region while MediaCom will continue to handle international territories.

GSK issued this statement: 

"The comprehensive review of our media agency partnerships has determined GroupM (MediaCom and Mindshare) and PHD are each best positioned in unique ways to partner with GSK in achieving our growth ambitions.



Both are world class global media agencies and will be key partners in driving media strategy and trading for the new GSK and we are delighted to make these awards." 

The review followed a March transaction between GSK and Novartis involving a multibillion asset swap. Starcom MediaVest Group had handled media duties for the operations that shifted from Novartis to GSK, but the Publicis Groupe-owned firm did not participate in the review. It’s not clear how those duties were divvied up between the winning agencies.

The drug and consumer health care marketer last reviewed its global media assignments two years ago. At that time GSK retained Omnicom’s PHD to handle media planning and buying duties for the U.S. PHD also picked up media duties for Canada and West Africa.  Non-North American assignments were consolidated with GroupM agencies, while Dentsu was awarded buying duties in Japan.

GSK markets brands such as Nicorette, Citrucell, Gaviscon, Sensodyne, Zovirax among many others. 

Agency reps either declined comment or referred calls to the client. A GSK rep didn’t respond to a query seeking comment on Monday but issued the confirmation statement early Tuesday morning.

The story has been updated to include confirmation and a statement from GSK, which noted that in addition to MediaCom and PHD, Mindshare also has been awarded a portion of the client's media assignment.

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