IPG's MRM, McCann Health to wrangle GSK global creative pharma along with Publicis

Separately, WPP retains GSK's U.S. pharma media business.

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has handed its global creative Rx business to IPG and Publicis Groupe, Campaign US has learned. 

The bulk of this business will be wrangled by MRM and McCann Health, as well as other IPG agencies, which now oversee oncology and vaccines -- the former being a core focus of investment for GSK, according to people with knowledge of the matter. 

Meanwhile, Publicis Groupe takes on its respiratory business. 

The review, which kicked off in September, was handled internally and led by procurement. While the review was run out of London, the majority of GSK’s revenue comes from the U.S. market. The pharma account is believed to make up around two-thirds of its business. 

McCann Health already had a sizeable piece of GSK pharma work.

Both IPG and Publicis Groupe referred comment to the client. GSK has not yet responded to a request for comment. 

Greg Paull, principal at R3 Worldwide consultancy group, said: "Building a strong global healthcare agency business is no easy matter -- this is a positive endorsement of the strides McCann has made to really put experts on the map."

Meanwhile, in a pitch run separately to the creative review, WPP fought off competition to retain GSK's U.S. pharma media business. It is serviced by CMI/Compass and is estimated to be valued between $10M and $15M. WPP referred comment to the client. 

News of the pitch conclusions comes a year after GSK awarded its $1.7 billion media business to Publicis Media. 

Publicis created a dedicated agency unit for the account called "platformGSK" which brings together different expertise from across Publicis Media in healthcare, consumer strategy and digital business transformation.

At the time, GSK Consumer Healthcare VP and Global Head of Media Scott Grenz said: "We ran a very thorough and competitive pitch process with strong presentations from all companies, but ultimately Publicis was the best fit for us. We’re excited about the new partnership and the potential of the platformGSK model as we continue to progress our marketing transformation program."

The review, which was handled by ID Comms, came less than three years after GSK awarded its European business to MediaCom, with PHD handling the U.S. media work. Both agencies had retained the accounts in 2015 following a global media review. They first won the business in 2013.

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