Leo Burnett Wins Creative for Pfizer's Nexium

Will Handle Brand's Transition From Prescription to Over-the-Counter Drug

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Leo Burnett Worldwide has been named a global roster agency for Pfizer Consumer Healthcare and will take over creative duties for heartburn medication Nexium as it transitions from a prescription to an over-the-counter medication, Crain's Chicago Business reports.

More than 200 Burnett employees from the Chicago, London, Paris and Berlin offices contributed to the pitch. The account will be managed from Chicago.

New York-based Pfizer entered into an agreement last year with AstraZeneca, the London-based maker of Nexium, to buy the drug's over-the-counter rights. Under the terms of the deal, Pfizer paid $250 million plus future royalties for the right to market over-the-counter Nexium globally. Pfizer intends to first sell OTC Nexium in the U.S. next year, when the drug loses patent protection, before expanding to other markets.

Nexium, with third-quarter 2012 sales of more than $1.4 billion, was the top-selling drug in the U.S. for that period, according to Drugs.com. Nexium pulled in $4 billion overall last year. The brand was supported with about $18 million on U.S. measured media in 2011, according to Kantar Media.

Through a spokeswoman, Burnett executives declined to comment. However, in a memo to employees, Burnett CEO Tom Bernardin called Nexium "a game-changing opportunity" for Pfizer and a "tremendous opportunity" for Leo Burnett. In 2011, Pfizer tapped Leo Burnett as its creative agency in Taiwan, an account worth an estimated $4 million.

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