$300 Mil. in Pfizer Brands Shift to JWT

NEW YORK Pfizer brands at Bates worth a total of $260 million are shifting to WPP Group’s J. Walter Thompson, where they will be housed in a new division called, Health@JWT, an agency representative said.

The shift, which was expected [Adweek, July 28], follows last week’s close of WPP’s deal to buy Bates parent Cordiant Communications Group.

The incoming brands, which include Benadryl, Neosporin, Rolaids and Visine, join some $200 million worth of Pfizer business already at JWT, including Listerine, Efferdent and Tucks. In addition, Pfizer is shifting another $40 million in brands such as Ben Gay, Cortizone and Unisom from other roster shops. As a result, JWT will now handle about $500 million in Pfizer business worldwide.

The new division will be led by former Bates worldwide client director Howard Courtemanche, who takes the title of CEO, and Bates executive creative director Bob Froelich, who becomes executive creative director. Courtemanche will focus on U.S. business while JWT global business director Ellen Hyde will oversee international efforts. Although it has its own leaders, Health@JWT will remain part of the larger agency and, for example, share profit and loss responsibilities.

Following the Pfizer brands to JWT in New York are some 100 staffers who worked on the business at the Cordiant shop. Bates’ back-office and support staff, however, are expected to be laid off, sources said.

Also as a result of the WPP deal, Bates’ offices in London, Paris and Lima, Peru will be folded into JWT offices in those markets, the JWT rep said.