Eli Lilly kicks off global media review

The pharmaceutical giant has been with OMD for almost two decades.

Global pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company is appraising its media agency requirements.

OMD is the incumbent, having held the business since 2002, and is defending the pitch, according to sources. At least four major holding companies are expected to pitch for the account.

The pitch, currently in the RFI stage, is expected to kick off in mid-June and last for about three months. MediaLink is believed to be running the process, but declined to comment.

“Lilly USA periodically reviews all major third-party suppliers and agency relationships to ensure our business is best-positioned for future growth," an Eli Lilly spokesperson told Campaign US. 

Eli Lilly's creative agencies include WPP’s Grey and healthcare marketing agency GSW. In 2019, the company reportedly began bringing some marketing duties in-house to cut costs, while retaining agencies for its larger U.S. brands.

The pharmaceutical giant’s biggest brands include antidepressant Prozac and diabetes drug Trulicity. It does not sell over-the-counter medication.

The media account is estimated to be worth between $600 million and $800 million, according to sources.

Last year, Eli Lilly released two monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19, Bamlanivimab and Etesevimab, which were approved by the FDA for emergency use in February, and then revoked in April after they were found to be ineffective against newer variants of the virus.

Healthcare has been a growth area for agencies during the pandemic. Most of the major holding companies pointed to healthcare and pharma clients as bright spots in an otherwise dismal year, and are doubling down on bespoke healthcare practices as these brands seek to spend more on advertising and communication. In 2020, Eli Lilly’s revenues rose 10% to $24.5 billion.

The Eli Lilly pitch is one of the larger media reviews of the year, following Coca-Cola’s $4 billion integrated review, Unilever’s global media review and Facebook’s $750 million media review.


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