Finalists Emerge in Merck’s Global Creative Review

Winner to handle Dr. Scholl's, Miralax, brand to be named later

Merck & Co. has selected four finalists in its global creative review of three over-the-counter brands, including Dr. Scholl’s and Miralax.

The agencies—Saatchi & Saatchi, Publicis, Grey, and Deutsch—emerged from a field of six to eight shops that Merck executives visited last week. Each agency is pitching out of its New York office, with domestic player Deutsch teaming with Lowe, its global counterpart.

The third brand is an incontinence product for women that Merck has yet to identify. The winner will create global campaigns for that brand and Miralax and non-U.S. advertising Dr. Scholl’s—at least to start. Collective media spending on the assignment is estimated at $50 million.

Big picture, Merck is looking to add a second global agency to work alongside lead global shop Euro RSCG on OTC products. Euro RSCG is the incumbent on Dr. Scholl’s; Merkley + Partners handles Miralax in the U.S. Neither shop is participating in the review.

Merck hopes to complete its search in November. Avidan Strategies in New York is managing the process. A Merck representative confirmed the finalistsand decision date but declined to comment further. Avidan did not return calls.