Back in August, Johnson & Johnson VP-Global Corporate Affairs Michael Sneed said he expected to wrap the marketer's holding-company review by October, and he's coming in right on schedule.
It's expected that creative agency assignments will be finalized this week -- and while not every detail has been nailed down yet -- it's understood that the biggest change J&J is undertaking is yanking the bulk of its creative account from one of three holding company partners, Interpublic Group of Cos.
It's likely that J&J will reassign chunks of business that were previously handled by Lowe , Deutsch and the Martin Agency to shops at Omnicom and WPP. Interpublic will still remains a key partner for media and other duties, however.
Calls to J&J were not returned. The agencies either declined to comment or referred calls to the client.
J&J spent $2.6 billion globally on advertising last year, mainly on its consumer businesses, and $1.94 billion in the U.S., according to the Ad Age DataCenter, with the consumer businesses making up the vast majority of that spending.
It's a massive blow to Interpublic, for which J&J has been one of its top five clients by revenue as recently as 2011. (Update: J&J will remain a top five Interpublic client, according to people familiar with the situation.) Agencies haven't been informed of all their assignments yet, but it's likely that DDB will pick up all of the feminine-care business, BBDO will handle Band-Aid and Neosporin and JWT will pick up Tylenol.
Only roster shops were invited to pitch the business in what was essentially a consolidation review.
"The relationships with the holding companies remain quite strong and we remain very pleased with the agencies within those holding companies," Mr. Sneed told Ad Age in August. "We will be moving brands among agencies. We will be eliminating some agencies from our roster in the short-term, but it's not based on performance. I would fully expect that as we look at new businesses, new opportunities that those agencies will continue to be in play, continue to be candidates going forward."
Contributing: Jack Neff