GlobalHue a contender: Novartis set to name Hispanic AOR

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Novartis is close to naming its first U.S. Hispanic agency of record, a milestone for the Latino market, where pharmaceutical marketers are the only major product category to devote less than 1% of ad budgets to reaching Hispanics.

The company heard final pitches in late May. Three of the four agencies known to be pitching for Novartis received calls last week saying they had not won the business. It is unclear whether a fourth contender, Interpublic Group of Cos.-backed GlobalHue, Southfield, Mich., is in talks with Novartis. Publicis Groupe's Conill Advertising, The Vidal Partnership and HispanicWorks, all New York, have been ruled out. Novartis declined to comment.

brands ready

One agency executive said the company told agencies it has some brands ready to enter the Hispanic market. An executive at another agency said Novartis also expressed interest in the African-American market. GlobalHue is primarily an African-American agency, but has some Hispanic capability.

Pharmaceutical marketers spent just 0.8% of their 2003 print and TV ad budgets on the Hispanic market, according to a new study commissioned by the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies and carried out by Santiago Solutions using TNS Media Intelligence/CMR data.

In that study, only two of the top 200 marketers to Hispanics are pharmaceutical companies. Pfizer ranks No. 39, spending $21 million, trailed by GlaxoSmithKline, ranked No. 169 with spending of $1.7 million. Novartis ranked No. 233 and spent just 0.2% of its TV and print budget on the Hispanic market.

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