Bayer Begins Re-Evaluating Media-Buying Duties Outside of U.S.

Review Process in Early Stages, but Consolidation Likely

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NEW YORK ( -- In the midst of re-evaluating its roster of creative agencies, pharma giant Bayer has begun a review of media-buying duties in several major markets across the globe, executives familiar with the matter said.

Bayer's 2008 annual report claims nearly $4 billion in marketing expenses.
Bayer's 2008 annual report claims nearly $4 billion in marketing expenses.
A Bayer spokeswoman said the company had "no comment at this time" regarding the review. But according to one executive with knowledge of the situation, the move, which is still in the very early stages, is a consolidation effort on Bayer's part.

The review isn't expected to impact the company's U.S. media-planning and -buying account, which is run by Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative. Planning assignments in the reviewed markets are also likely to remain at their current shops and not be part of this review, according to one industry executive.

$4 billion in marketing
But Bayer's media-buying assignments in several global markets -- among them the U.K., France, Spain, Germany and Brazil -- which are handled by a host of local agency players, are expected to be up for review. All told, those chunks of business are estimated to be worth several hundred million dollars.

Bayer is a massive advertiser. In its 2008 annual report it claims nearly $4 billion in marketing expenses. Domestically, Bayer was ranked 47th on Ad Age's list of top 100 national advertisers in June. Overall the company spent $840 million last year on marketing in the U.S. alone with $442 million spent in measured media, according to TNS, and an estimated $387 million on unmeasured media.

Consumer and pharma offerings
Bayer's consumer product offerings include Bayer Aspirin, Aleve, One-A-Day, Midol and Alka Seltzer, and its major pharmaceutical products include Levitra and Cipro.

The media review comes as Bayer has yet to conclude a review of its roster of creative shops. In July, Ad Age reported that the German pharmaceutical giant was launching a holding-company review of its creative account in hopes of consolidating the business globally under one company. The process has been sluggishly moving along, but industry executives said a decision could be reached by year-end.

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Contributing: Rupal Parekh

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