$3 Bil. J&J Pitch: Carat Is 4th Finalist

NEW YORK Aegis Group’s Carat has emerged as a fourth finalist in Johnson & Johnson’s estimated $3 billion global media review, according to sources.

The shop is pursuing the European and Asian portions of the business and is not contending for the domestic work, per sources.

The other finalists include Omnicom’s OMD, which is pitching the entire global account, and Interpublic media shops Universal McCann and Initiative. The latter two are coordinating their efforts, with UM, J&J’s North American incumbent, seeking to defend that assignment, while Initiative is pursuing non-U.S. territories.

Another contender, MindShare, exited the review last month.

The ongoing pitch involves presentations in more than two-dozen countries.

Final presentations are expected the week of June 18, with a decision by the end the month or early July.

Carat has been involved in the review since March, but the shop’s participation had not been determined until now.

Sources said it makes sense for Carat to avoid pitching J&J’s U.S. business: When J&J acquired Pfizer’s consumer healthcare division last year, it stripped Carat of its planning and buying assignments, splitting them between UM and OMD. Conversely, in Europe, where Carat is pitching, it remains one of the strongest media agencies in the marketplace.

OMD currently handles J&J products mainly in the rapidly expanding market of China.

J&J officials and executives at the agencies pitching the account declined comment.

The New Brunswick, N.J.-based company spends more than $2 billion annually in U.S. measured media and approximately $3 billion globally, according to sources.

When it confirmed the review in March, J&J said, “The recent acquisition of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare created an opportunity to reevaluate our media agency relationships and enhance the ability of our brands to effectively communicate and leverage investment across the rapidly changing and increasingly diverse media landscape.”