Pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline has awarded its $1.7 billion media business to Publicis Media, following a competitive review, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Publicis Media has created a dedicated agency unit for the account, these people told Campaign.
GSK said in an emailed statement: "GSK periodically reviews its media buying arrangements to ensure they are continuing to deliver the best value to the business."
In an updated statement on October 8, 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 bespoke "platformGSK" model will bring together different expertise from across Publicis Media in healthcare, consumer strategy and digital business transformation.
Laurent Ezekiel, Publicis Groupe client lead, also said in a statement: "GSK is one of the largest consumer healthcare and pharmaceutical companies in the world. We are excited to partner with them to establish a transformative client-agency relationship that will enable GSK to deliver on its ambition to become the best data-driven marketer in the industry."
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.
More recently, MediaCom had been handling media offline for EMEA, while sibling GroupM shop Mindshare managed media in APAC and Latin America and Essence oversaw EMEA digital.
A year later, GSK completed an agency review for the other parts of its marketing comms business by hiring nine agencies, including Grey and Saatchi & Saatchi for advertising. The agencies were hired at that time to work on GSK's seven power brands: Sensodyne, Parodontax, Poligrip, Voltaren, Panadol, Theraflu and Otrivin, as well as its 12 core brands: Biotene, Contac, Flonase, Excedrin, Fenbid, Tums, ENO, Horlicks, Physiogel, Lamisil, Fenistil and Abreva/Zovirax.
Representatives from GSK, Publicis Media, PHD and MediaCom were not immediately available for comment.