Three of Four Known Finalists Informed They Are Not Winners

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NEW YORK ( -- Novartis is close to naming its first U.S. Hispanic agency of record, a milestone for the Latino market, where pharmaceutical marketers are the only
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major product category to devote less than 1% of ad budgets to reaching Hispanics.

That's changing, as Hispanic agencies and Spanish-language media target pharmaceutical makers this year.

Final pitches
The company heard final presentations from agencies in late May. Three of the four agencies known to be pitching for Novartis received calls last week saying they had not won the business. It is unclear whether a fourth contender, Interpublic Group of Cos.-backed GlobalHue, Southfield, Mich., is in talks with Novartis. Publicis Groupe's Conill Advertising, Vidal Partnership and HispanicWorks, all based in New York, have been ruled out.

Novartis declined to comment.

One agency executive said the company told agencies it has some brands ready to enter the Hispanic market, and others that should be thinking about it. An executive at another agency said Novartis also expressed interest in the African-American market. GlobalHue is primarily an African-American agency, but has some Hispanic capability.

Ad spending
Pharmaceutical marketers spent just 0.8% of their 2003 print and TV ad budgets on the Hispanic market, according to a new study commissioned by the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies and carried out by Santiago Solutions using data from TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. In that study, only two of the top 200 marketers to Hispanics are pharmaceutical companies. Pfizer ranks No. 39, spending $21 million or 2.5% of its ad budget on ads for Hispanic consumers, trailed by GlaxoSmithKline, ranked No. 169 with spending of $1.7 million, about 0.3% of its ad budget. Novartis ranked No. 223, and spent just 0.2% of its TV and print ad budget.

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