Bristol Myers Squibb Appoints IPG's Mediabrands As Its New U.S. Media AOR


Earlier this year pharma giant Bristol Myers Squibb quietly launched a review for its U.S. media agency assignment. The company has been mum on the winner—appointed last month—but multiple sources confirm the US AOR assignment has been awarded to Interpublic’s Mediabrands.  

Previously the company worked with Havas. 



This year’s media budget for the company’s brands totals $430 million, according to an RFI that the company issued in January.  

BMS declined to comment.  

The BMS assignment continues a win streak of big accounts for Mediabrands. It won the $1.4 billion GEICO media account in February. Mediabrands officials could not be immediately reached for comment. 

“The BMS portfolio includes a diverse group of brands in different life stages and therapeutic areas, each with different media challenges,” the RFI states. “Until three years ago there were only eight focused brands. In the past two years alone, BMS launched nine new brands... Over the next 3-5 years, growth for BMS will primarily come from launch brands. Getting it right for the launch brands is essential.  

“A balancing act is required,” the RFI stressed. “And it is essential that the launch brand growth does not come at the expense of established and/or smaller spending brands. These brands must not get lost in the mix and must continue to meet business targets too, with media strategy and planning for their unique needs.” 

The RFI Lists eight current in-market brands including, Opdivo, Yervoy, Pomalyst and Abraxane. 

Nine new launch products are listed including Zeposia, Bebloyzl, Abecma and Camzyos. 

Competitive intelligence appears to be a priority according to the RFI. “The private nature of pharma also creates challenges to developing insights into what competitors are doing,” the document states. “It can be very challenging for BMS to gather a complete understanding on competition without the aid and perspective of our third-party agencies. In media, this is no exception and agencies are heavily relied upon to provide insight into the always-changing landscape.” 

Health care professionals continue to be a primary focus for the pharma company. But, “our once smaller product portfolio has expanded and become more diverse and now lends itself to DTC more than in previous years. On a parallel path, we are strengthening our muscle and expertise internally in customer experience to make a bigger impact.” 

BMS said it was looking to consolidate DTC planning and buying “at an enterprise level to bring marketplace leverage that drives greater value and delivers media efficiencies, strengthen resource allocation and strategic planning, and enable rapid reporting to drive plan optimization while campaigns are in flight.” 

The company retained Joanne Davis Consulting to help manage the review process which was led internally by a team that included Kathy Vincent, senior director of U.S. Commercial Strategy and Operations, Lori Kaplan, executive director, launch experience, Denis Dalton, executive director U.S. Omni-Channel Experience, Strategy & Planning, Naveed Patel, director worldwide media and planning, Jim Akers, executive director, strategic sourcing & procurement and Michelle Waters, senior manager marketing procurement.  


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