THE NUMBERS: Such billion-dollar blockbusters as Risperdal, Topamax and more have lost patent protection in recent years, eating into J&J's sales and earnings. But its consumer-products business, with about a third of revenues and more than 90% of the company's consumer-marketing outlay, has continued to grow, albeit only 1% organically in the third quarter. J&J spent $1.3 billion on measured media in 2008. First-half measured media spending rose 17% to $808 million.
THE KEY LIEUTENANTS: VP-Worldwide Media Kim Kadlec has led much of J&J's more innovative -- and controversial -- efforts, such as eschewing the TV upfront and enlisting media companies for creative work. Key decisions for brands remain with executives in the far-flung operating units of the decentralized company.
THE CHALLENGE: Slowing sales in the once unstoppable skin-care business could simply be an outgrowth of the recession or a result of cutbacks in shelf space by Walmart. Or, they could signal that megabrands Neutrogena and Aveeno, like their rivals, bumped against the end of the white-space frontier for brand extensions. J&J faces an uphill fight in oral care against Colgate-Palmolive and P&G and rapidly expanding private-label shares in over-the-counter drugs. Upfront avoidance that looked great a quarter or two ago amid a weak scatter market suddenly looks less appealing.
THE AGENCIES: WPP's JWT made inroads following the 2006 acquisition of Pfizer consumer brands, but Interpublic's Lowe and R/GA, Omnicom Group's DDB and independent Mother also play key roles, as do media shops Universal McCann and Naked.