WPP Is the Big Winner In Pharma Giant Sanofi’s $1 Billion Global Review

Havas also picks up U.S. business

Publicis had been global AOR on the media business. Sanofi
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French pharmaceutical company Sanofi today resolved a five-month review of all of its marketing partnerships, most significantly adding WPP to its roster and assigning additional responsibilities to Havas.

WPP won the majority of the business, and GroupM’s Mindshare will be the client’s new global media agency of record, handling ad planning and buying duties for more than 60 countries around the world.

The two main exceptions are Japan, where Hakuhodo will manage media for the company’s consumer health-care division, and the U.S., where Havas will run media buying on the prescription side of the business and planning for consumer health care. Incumbent independent New York agency KWG will continue to serve as media buying agency of record for consumer products.

“Our Village vision continues to deliver fantastic results, and we are delighted to bring this transformative approach to Sanofi,” said Shane Ankeney, president of Havas Media Group North America. “This significant win for Havas Media is just the latest in our burgeoning health care practice.”

WPP will now share creative duties on the business along with Havas and incumbent Publicis. The exact division of the work is not clear, but a press release notes that “each agency plays a critical role in supporting all integrated marketing services, including digital, consumer advertising, healthcare communications and public relations.”

According to a person with direct knowledge of the matter, WPP will soon form an international Team Sanofi division to handle creative.

A WPP representative could not be reached for comment today, but another source indicated the holding company went into the review in a particularly strong position due to its longtime relationship with Boehringer Ingelheim, another pharma conglomerate that Sanofi acquired in January in an asset swap estimated to be worth more than $20 billion dollars.

Sanofi, based in Gentilly, France, is the world’s fifth-largest pharmaceutical company in terms of total sales. The company produces everything from prescription drugs like Ambien to vaccines and pet medications.

When Campaign broke the news of the review in March, it estimated the company’s annual measured media spend at 900 million euros, or more than $1 billion.

Publicis, which first won Sanofi’s business in a 2003 review, would appear to be the biggest loser in today’s decision. It did not retain any of the client’s global media work.

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.