Thursday, July 31, 2008

Oops... $300 Mil. Novartis U.S. Shifts to MEC

$300 Mil. Novartis U.S. Shifts to MEC

WPP sibling MindShare had handled the business

July 31, 2008

-By Steve McClellan

MEC, which already works for Novartis overseas, doubles its business with the client to $600 million as it adds U.S. chores.
NEW YORK Pharmaceuticals giant Novartis has shifted its U.S. media buying and planning duties, including digital chores, to Mediaedge:cia from MindShare without a review, according to sources. Both shops are units of WPP Group.

The client spends approximately $300 million annually on measured media in the U.S., per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Sources said the shift was made to realize "efficiencies" that can be achieved by aligning the client with one global agency network. MEC already handled Novartis in 60 countries, where combined ad expenditures are about the same as in the U.S. With the addition of the U.S. region, the spending handled by MEC on the account doubles to $600 million, per sources.

MindShare has exclusively held the Novartis account in the U.S. since January 2002, when the pharma company consolidated the business, which had been split among Initiative, Lowe, Euro RSCG's media department and MindShare.

The agencies referred questions to the client. A representative there could not be immediately reached.

Novartis is based in Basel, Switzerland, and manufactures over-the-counter remedies such as Excedrin headache tablets and cold and flu remedy Theraflu as well as prescription drugs such as Diovan HCT for high blood pressure, among others.

The company reported gross sales of more than $48 billion in its 2007 annual report.
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