GSK appoints Publicis as global media agency

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 9 October 2018

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has appointed Publicis to its media account following a global review.

In Australia, the move impacts PHD, which handles GSK's media buying and planning, while Havas provides digital strategy work. MediaCom handles parts of GSK's media buying and planning business in other markets.

Publicis Media Australia confirmed the win to AdNews and revealed it will be handled via a bespoke solution.

The pitch, which was announced in May, included incumbents PHD, GroupM, an unspecified Dentsu network and a bespoke Publicis Media team, according to a report in AdWeek.

GSK - the maker of Panadol, Sensodyne and Voltaren - spent $30 million on media in Australia between September 2017 and August 2018, according to figures provided by Nielsen.

Last fiscal year the global business reported it spent $2.4 billion on advertising, which was a marginal increase on the $2.27 billion it spent in the 2016 fiscal year. Global sales reached $54.4 billion in the 2017 fiscal year.

However, the business also noted in its most recent annual report that it has curbed costs in its consumer healthcare division, where the bulk of its public media budget is spent.

The cost-cutting measures included a focus on power brands, such as those mentioned above, and some tightening of marketing budgets in parts of its consumer health division.

Globally, the business reported its marketing and sales headcount has reduced by 2% in the past fiscal year and by about 17% over the past five years.

Last year, the business revealed it would axe 130 'non-core' brands and overhaul its prescription drugs business.

GSK has recently installed new leadership in Australia. Its former US CMO Theresa Agnew took the reins of the Australian and NZ operation, succeeding Elizabeth Reynolds, who had been on 'extended personal leave'.

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