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J&J's Global Media Review Hits Halfway Mark

Focus shifts to Latin America, Asia-Pacific regions
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Two regions down, two to go.

Johnson & Johnson is midway through a global review of its media planning and buying business with its decision in the North American market this week. The J3 unit of Interpublic Group’s UM has beaten back competition from Omnicom Group’s OMD and WPP Group’s MEC to retain that region’s business.

J&J said in a statement that the assignment encompasses its brands in the consumer, pharmaceutical and medical device and diagnostics sectors. The goal of the review, the company added, was to “identify cost savings and increase value.”

J3’s successful defense is significant because the U.S. is J&J’s largest market, with total media spending of nearly $800 million last year, according to Nielsen. Also, UM could ill afford to lose such a mega-account just a year after Microsoft left.

The agency, which manages J&J’s business at its New York and Toronto offices, has worked for the marketer since 1973.

The J3 selection comes three weeks after J&J consolidated its media business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa at UM and a new WPP unit called Primus. Aegis Group’s Carat, the previous lead shop in Europe, was among the other contenders for that account.

Now, the focus turns to Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region—the two remaining markets in J&J’s region-by-region review. Sources expect those contests to conclude by early next year.