Mindshare Poised to Pick up Abbott Labs' $230 Million Media Account

Starcom MediaVest Group Was the Incumbent

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Abbott Laboratories is set to award its $230 million-plus U.S. media planning and buying account from Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group to WPP's Mindshare, two executives with knowledge of the review said.

According to TNS Media Intelligence, Abbott spent $223 million on measured media in 2008, but within the first nine months of this year it raised the ante, to more than $230 million in spending. The company produces drugs including Vicodin and Advicor and nutritional products such as Similac, Ensure, Glucerna and Myoplex. Earlier this month Abbott acquired Israel-based Starlims Technologies for $123 million in an effort to strengthen its position in the global diagnostics market.

Abbott did not return calls by press time; Mindshare referred calls for comment to the marketer and SMG declined to comment.

This is the second big win for Mindshare in the pharmaceutical category in the past two weeks, re-establishing the shop's position in the category. The agency recently was awarded the nearly $220 million media account for Boehringer, the maker of Flomax. Havas' MPG was the incumbent on the Boehringer account.

Mindshare took a sizable hit this year in terms of account losses this year. It lost a $400 million pharma account from Bristol-Myers Squibb account earlier this year, as well as Wm. Wrigley's $250 million planning and buying business and a $32 million account from THQ Gaming. Mindshare made a change at the top of its North American unit, replacing Scott Neslund with Phil Cowdell, who previously ran the agency's Ford Motor Co. and Unilever accounts, and over the past few months it has managed to build up some momentum. Other recent wins include the nearly $100 million Farmers Insurance business, the $60 million Sun Products account and the $10 million Skyy Spirits business.

SMG, which managed the Abbott account since 2007, recently lost the North American communications planning duties for Gillette's men's grooming business to Aegis Group's Carat.

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