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Pfizer Retains Carat for Media Chores

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Pharma giant Pfizer has opted to retain Carat as its media agency after a review, the client has confirmed.

The company spent $1.3 billion on ads in 2009, and $600 million during the first six months of this year, according to Nielsen. 

The review marks the second big pharma reassessment handed down in as many days. Yesterday, GlaxoSmithKline opted to switch shops after a review, awarding its $700 million U.S. assignment to Omicom's PHD. WPP's MediaCom was the incumbent.

Earlier this year, Carat was awarded duties on Pfizer's recently acquired Wyeth brand.

For Carat, retaining Pfizer is a huge sigh of relief. It's been a hectic year for Carat in terms of new-business activity, and losing Pfizer would have been a major blow (as the loss of GSK is to MediaCom).

The retention of the drug company caps a two-year effort by Carat and parent Aegis Media to right its U.S. operation after several disastrous years. And wins outweighed losses in 2010. In addition to retaining Pfizer, Carat added Smucker ($125 million), Beiersdorf ($100 million), Red Bull ($50 million) and Relativity Media ($200 million) to its roster. In the loss column: RadioShack, Alberto Culver and Revlon, worth about $350 million in combined overall media spending.

In a statement, the client said: "Pfizer is pleased to continue its nearly 11-year relationship with Carat as its agency of record for direct-to-consumer media planning and buying for the pharmaceutical business across all communications channels, and for TV and print buying for the over-the-counter consumer healthcare business in the U.S. This follows a routine review to ensure Pfizer retains the services that best fits the needs of its business."