Bristol-Myers shuffles agency roster

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Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. realigned its agency roster Friday, moving several brand assignments in Europe and the U.S. But in a surprise move, it didn't actually shrink the roster.

Wells Rich Greene BDDP and Bozell Worldwide, both New York, gained new assignments at the expense of J. Walter Thompson Co. (losing about $25 million in billings) and Gotham Inc. (losing $7 million). Grey Advertising held onto some business overseas.

The moves highlighted the increasing difficulty of managing client conflicts in an era of global marketing. As a large multinational marketer--but not one of the largest--Bristol-Myers found itself blocked from expanding accounts overseas with its global agencies-- JWT, Grey and DDB Needham Worldwide--because they're already aligned with competitors in many countries.

"Our objective in reassigning this business is to realign our brands and key categories by agency in order to provide marketing efficiencies in the globalization of our advertising and marketing program," said Peter Spengler, VP-marketing services at Bristol-Myers, which spends up to $400 million on ads worldwide.

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