WPP Buys Health And Pharma Media Agency CMI

WPP has acquired Communications Media, Inc. [“CMI”], one of the largest healthcare media agencies in the US. Terms weren’t disclosed.

CMI’s revenues totaled $38 million last year. Clients include numerous blue chip companies in the pharmaceutical and related health care fields. Among them: Abbott, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis and Sanofi. Overall it represents 340 brands among 51 clients.

CMI employs more than 210 people and is based in King of Prussia, PA, with offices in New York, Philadelphia, and Pennsauken, NJ.

As part of the acquisition, Ogilvy CommonHealth Medical Media, the media operation within Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide, will become part of CMI. CMI in turn will become a media planning and buying hub within GroupH, parent company for WPP’s  healthcare specialist companies.



John Zweig, Chairman, Healthcare and Specialist Communications who oversees Group H, stated that “As part of WPP, CMI not only creates the deepest capability in the industry, it delivers precision in audience targeting and the ability to assess return on media investment never before seen in the healthcare specialist industry.”

CMI was founded by Stan Woodland in 1989. In addition to media planning and buying services the firm has a promotional fulfillment warehouse, a global reprint service, and an agency subsidiary that provides digital creative services.

Woodland also owns and operates a separate buying specialist that focuses on the health and pharma sector called Compas. WPP has had a minority stake in Compas for a while although that arrangement was unaffected by the acquisition of CMI.

The CMI acquisition is the second deal in the health care sector that WPP has recently completed. Last week it confirmed buying digital marketing firm Viscira through its Sudler & Hennessey subsidiary.


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