Bayer Consolidates Global Ad Business With Omnicom, WPP

Holding Companies Will Serve as 'Primary Global-Marketing-Services Partners' on $850M Account

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NEW YORK ( -- German pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG today said it has consolidated its $850 million global advertising account with Omnicom Group and WPP.

The review, which began in the summer of 2009, streamlines Bayer's agency relationships -- it was working with some 400 disparate agencies around the world -- and is expected to help the company save about 10% on its marketing and media-services expenses.

A spokeswoman said the two agency holding companies will now serve as Bayer's "primary global-marketing-services partners."

Agency representatives either could not be immediately reached for comment or referred calls to the client. But it appears that some incumbent agencies, such as Omnicom's BBDO and WPP's JWT and Ogilvy, will come out of the review keeping creative assignments as well as adding new ones.

On the media side, Bayer has consolidated all planning and buying responsibilities outside the U.S. at WPP's Group M. The global media duties alone are worth some $400 million in billings, according to one executive with knowledge of the matter.

Although Omnicom and WPP are the big winners in the review, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative is coming out unscathed, holding onto the U.S. planning and buying piece for Bayer's health-care and consumer-care divisions. The pharma giant consolidated the two with Initiative in November as part of a review for the health-care account. Prior to that review the Interpublic shop split work on the health-care account with WPP's Mediaedge:cia.

Bayer ranks as the 49th largest global marketer, with worldwide measured-media spending of nearly $850 million, according to the most recent data tracked by Ad Age's DataCenter.

The marketer's lengthy review process is said to be driven by a desire for consistency and cost efficiencies in the company's marketing. Some 50 different brands are expected to be affected by these moves, as well as hundreds of agencies around the globe. Major brands marketed by the company include over-the-counter consumer health and pharmaceutical products such as Bayer, Aleve, One-a-Day, Alka-Seltzer, Midol and Yaz.

The transition to Bayer's streamlined agency structure begins immediately and is expected to take between 18 to 24 months to be completed.

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Contributing: Michael Bush

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