Merck Confirms Global Creative Search

Pharma giant seeks another shop to handle OTC brands

Merck & Co. has confirmed that its consumer products group is looking to hire another global agency to work on its over-the-counter, nonprescription brands.

Euro RSCG is Merck’s lead global agency and will remain on the roster. But the Havas shop will now have competition on certain brands. Merck’s consumer portfolio includes Claritin, Dr. Scholl’s, Coppertone, Drixoral, Lotrimin, Miralax, and Tinactin.

Media spending on the global creative assignment in play is estimated at $50 million. In the U.S. alone, media spending across all of Merck’s OTC brands exceeded $220 million last year, according to Nielsen. That figure does not include online spending.

Merck, which is based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., has distributed a request for proposals to global shops that’s returnable later this month. Avidan Strategies in New York is managing the process.

Avidan did not return calls, but in an email, a Merck representative acknowledged the search, noting that the new agency will “represent select brands and businesses and complement the work of Euro RSCG, who handles a number of U.S. brands and Claritin globally.”

The rep did not immediately identify the brands in play. 

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