Two weeks after consolidating its worldwide media buying business with Publicis, pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline, or GSK, announced today that a cross-agency WPP team won global creative duties for its popular Panadol line of products after a competitive review.
It marks a significant win for WPP after a string of unsuccessful media pitches; GSK is described in other reports as Grey’s second-largest global client. The acetaminophen-based pain reliever is one of GSK’s seven “power brands.” It’s sold in more than 80 countries (but not the U.S.), comes in several varieties and has been called the most frequently counterfeited medicine in the world.
WPP beat out Publicis and Havas, which handled the digital portion of the business, in a “winner-take-all” pitch that launched in May. It also won the client’s public relations work away from Edelman. A spokesperson for the PR firm did not immediately confirm whether it defended. GSK’s own Global Panadol Brand team managed the review out of Asia House, the company’s headquarters in Singapore.
“Through the pitch process, we were looking for an agency offering with real end-to-end capabilities and strong creative excellence to help us take Panadol to the next level, and WPP really stepped up to the brief,” Michael Duffy, global business lead for Panadol at GSK Consumer Healthcare, said in a statement. “We were particularly impressed by the potential of the one holding company model to cut out complexity, drive efficiency and deliver the best for the brand.”
According to a GSK spokesperson, the purpose of the review was to “streamline its agency roster and to continue to drive a step change in its integrated data-driven marketing and communications.”
A team consisting of incumbent Grey, Geometry, Hill & Knowlton, Ogilvy CommonHealth and Wunderman will handle the business. Grey Group Singapore CEO Konstantin Popovic, who was promoted to that role in January after leading the GSK account, will lead the bespoke team.
WPP CEO Mark Read called Panadol “a great brand,” adding, “Clients are increasingly asking for fully integrated offers and WPP is best placed to provide those solutions.”
GSK Consumer Healthcare’s last major agency review took place in 2016, when the company expanded its relationships with all incumbents in a stated effort to increase its focus on digital promotions while increasing overall efficiency.
Earlier this month, Adweek reported that GSK had moved to consolidate its global media business across brands with Publicis. The company later countered claims that the review had come down to cost and revealed that it would be moving the planning portion of that business in-house, significantly reducing the scope of the Publicis win.