The agency, which last fall picked up J&J's Neutrogena skin and haircare assignments in Europe and quietly added Latin American markets at the end of the year, appears poised to snare Neutrogena's $35 million U.S. account from incumbent Carlson & Partners, New York.
As agency for the $20 million launch of the prescription skincare drug Renova for J&J's Ortho division, DDB Needham late last month was also assigned responsibility for a line of over-the-counter Neutrogena products billed as "Renova compatible," a J&J spokeswoman confirmed.
Asked if the agency is slated for more Neutrogena work, she said: "Not at this time."
J&J's realignment also is prompting Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising to establish a dedicated healthcare division, a move intended to tighten the agency's grip on billings of more than $285 million worldwide from the marketer's Tylenol, Mylanta and Pepcid AC brands.
Overseeing J&J's realignment is VP-Advertising Andrea Alstrup, who is said to have choreographed the shift last fall of J&J's $15 million-plus in feminine care products from Saatchi to Ammirati & Puris/Lintas. (McCann-Erickson Worldwide is the other core agency for J&J.)
Michael Jeary, Saatchi's worldwide account director on J&J and vice chairman-worldwide director of marketing, confirmed such a plan is being discussed but wouldn't reveal specifics.
Thomas Lom would lead the standalone unit. Mr. Jeary recently hired Mr. Lom as U.S. managing director on J&J from William Douglas McAdams Inc., an agency specializing in professional healthcare advertising.
The model for the unit will be Saatchi's Kid Connection, which pulls together staffers from different functions-media, creative, strategy, research-with experience in marketing to children.