Abbott Pharma Spinoff Selects Spark to Handle $365 Million Media Business

WPP's Mindshare Was the Incumbent on the Account

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Abbott Laboratories' new pharmaceutical spinoff AbbVie has selected Publicis Groupe's Spark to handle its $365 million media business, Ad Age has learned.

The agency will support online and offline media buying and planning for the Chicago-based health-care giant.

The review follows Abbott Laboratories' Jan. 1 split into two publicly traded companies. One company consists of diversified medical products and the other, dubbed AbbVie, of research-based pharmaceutical products. The pharmaceutical division, which held this agency review, accounted for about $18 billion in revenue when the company announced plans for the split last October. The medical products group reported $22 billion in annual revenue at the time.

WPP's Mindshare is the incumbent on the pharmaceutical account and has worked with the company since early 2010.

Finalists in the review included Mindshare, Spark and Omnicom's PHD. Agencies either didn't immediately respond to requests for comment or declined to comment. Abbott did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prior to assigning Mindshare the business, the company worked with Publicis' Starcom MediaVest Group, so the selection of Spark is a return to the holding company. The agency, which was revamped earlier this year to become a third, competitive SMG media agency network, recently won Taco Bell's media planning account. It has also since picked up Orbitz's media buying, as well as duties for Hyatt Hotels and Warby Parker, among others.

Before its split, Abbott, which has historically made products in the pharmaceutical, medical devices and nutritionals categories, spent $285.7 million on U.S. measured media in 2011, according to Kantar Media. Going into 2013, however, the new pharmaceutical spinoff could boost its media spending to up to $365 million, according to industry executives.

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