Bayer's Global Consolidation Benefits Omnicom, WPP | Adweek
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Bayer's Global Consolidation Benefits Omnicom, WPP

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Bayer HealthCare has consolidated its global marketing services duties at Omnicom Group and WPP Group after a review, the client has confirmed. At the same time, BHC has awarded international media duties to WPP's GroupM after a parallel review.

The marketing services consolidation involves some 50 brands from four subsidiaries: Bayer Schering Pharma/Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Bayer HealthCare Animal Health, Bayer HealthCare Consumer Care and Bayer HealthCare Medical Care.

BHC, a unit of Bayer AG, spends about $800 million globally in media each year. The creative shift involves roughly half that expenditure and the media assignment represents about 80 percent of the total spend.

"Our initiative on global marketing and media services was undertaken to help us achieve increased consistency across marketing disciplines, markets and targets and enable us to deliver more effective and creative work in more markets, more quickly," said Bayer Healthcare CEO Arthur Higgins, in a statement. "Additionally, we believe this change will enable us to drive significant improvements in performance and efficiency on our leading brands."

The creative assignment includes advertising to consumers and doctors, medical education efforts, digital marketing and public relations. As a result of the consolidation, work now handled by more than 400 agencies around the world will shift to WPP and OMC shops. Bayer expects to complete the shift within 18 to 24 months.

The lead agencies behind WPP's creative pitch were JWT and Ogilvy Healthworld, said sources. BBDO and CDM Group (formerly Cline Davis Mann) led OMC's pitch. As such, those shops are the chief beneficiaries of the decision. Other units of each holding company also will gain business, however. At OMC, for example, digital shop Proximity, PR agencies Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum Pleon and Porter Novelli and healthcare specialists Adelphi Eden and DDB Health are expected to pick up work.

GroupM will create a dedicated unit to service the international media account, which includes planning and buying for both traditional and digital ads, said sources. Previously, the business was splintered among a dozen or so shops in different regions, including WPP's Mindshare and OMC's OMD. Omnicom Media Group was the other finalist, sources said.

U.S. media duties were not included in the review and remain at Interpublic Group's Initiative in New York.

As a result of the creative and media consolidations, Higgins estimates that Bayer Healthcare will reduce its marketing costs by 10 percent. Sandra Peterson, CEO of Bayer Healthcare Medical Care, added: "We believe that we have an opportunity to take 'integrated marketing' to a new level, linking all classes and media types and in doing so, making BHC a world leader in this area."

Bayer spent nearly a year on the consolidation initiatives. Roth Associates in New York helped manage both the global marketing services and international media reviews.

--with Steve McClellan