GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare is merging its anti-smoking and anti-obesity brands under a single marketing unit in Parsippany, NJ (they were previously based in Pennsylvania. This will force layoffs at GSK. A new Marketing Chief, VP for Behavioral Sciences, Karen Scollick will head the division and replace Steve Burton on the Alli diet drug brand and Bill Slivka on the smoking brands- Nicoderm CQ, Nicorrette and Committ.
Arnold is the lead agency for all of these brands and it’s expected to remain that way. They appointed a new SVP, Group Director, Scott Caristo on the anti-smoking accounts in May.
GSK rep Malesia Dunn, says the move is happening so that both franchises can “work closer in collaboration”. Adweek notes that anti-smoking brands have experienced lost sales and are behind 18-31 percent through June 15 this year, compared to the same period last year, according to IRI. Pfizer introduce it’s prescription anti-smoking drug, Chantix, so that must sure acoount for some of the loss in sales.
But the weight loss drug Alli is still forging ahead with strong sales. And it’s probably in part to the fact that GSK spent $80 million-plus on ads for Alli last year and more than $55 million through April. Conversely, that spent much less on their anti-smoking ads. Only $30 million and $15 million on Nicorette in those same periods; NicoDerm got $30 million and $12 million; and Commit got about $30 million and $10 million. In this tough economy that is still alot of ad dollars going towards convincing consumers to purchase nonessential goods.
The move is expected to be complete by the end of the year. It’s not known how many layoffs will occur.