Interpublic, WPP Win J&J Pharmaceutical Business

$110 Million Account Includes Spending on Drug Brands Ultram ER, Procrit

By Published on .

NEW YORK ( -- Interpublic Group of Cos. and WPP Group have emerged the winners of a holding-company pitch for Johnson & Johnson's pharmaceutical business.

The drug giant this summer embarked on a consolidation of agencies handling its $25 billion group, home to brands that include pain medication Ultram ER, cancer and blood-disease treatment Procrit and migraine remedy Topamax. But it's unclear at this point how the business will be divided between the two holding companies.

"We don't really have any more information or details on how the work is going to be split up," said Marc Monseau, director-public affairs at Johnson & Johnson, adding, "We're excited about this choice and we feel that both organizations have the creative skills, expertise and breadth to help us accomplish our mission to provide innovative approaches to reach and engage our customers."

As part of the pitch, the marketer reached out to all major holding companies as well as some independents.

Last year's spend
J&J spent about $110 million of its $1.4 billion measured-media budget last year on pharmaceuticals, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Some $49 million of that was for Topamax, which just lost patent protection Sept. 26 and now faces generic competition.

In the wake of the review, Joe McCarthy, who served as J&J's VP-worldwide advertising since 2005, departed to become CEO of Publicis Worldwide, New York.

Under his watch, the company undertook a major realignment of the creative agencies handling its marketing account and added independent shops such as Mother and Taxi to its roster.

~ ~ ~
Contributing: Jack Neff, Michael Bush
Most Popular