Pfizer, flush with cash and new marketing chief, hires 2 new agencies after review

Pfizer is shifting gears with its agency roster as a new marketing chief makes his mark.

The New York-based Big Pharma, which has made tens of billions of dollars from its COVID-19 drug and vaccines over the past two years, is looking for new ways of splashing that cash in marketing.

To help, it has hired Publicis Groupe, one of the largest communications companies in the world, to handle its “integrated global engine” work, according to industry media publisher PR Week, which it says “includes data and tech, media and creative production.”

It has also hired marketing giant Interpublic Group as its lead creative partner.

Pfizer has a long history of working with the world’s largest PR firms that more recently include Weber, Ogilvy, Real Chemistry, Dini von Mueffling Communications, Porter Novelli and Edelman.

The change-up comes after former Verily executive Andreas "Drew" Panayiotou joined Pfizer last September in what was the company's inaugural biopharma global chief marketing officer role.

In this capacity, Panayiotou is responsible for building commercial infrastructure and adding new innovative engagement channels, tools and digital solutions. He undertook an agency review earlier this year and clearly has found some new agencies better suited for his vision at Pfizer.

“We are working to bring Pfizer’s marketing organization into the same transformation the larger organization has undergone over the past years—to be more innovative, nimbler and data-driven,” Panayiotou told PR Week in an interview.

“By consolidating and centralizing our agency model, we will use scale to our advantage to get the best of the best from the agency world and power better content creation.”

While COVID-19 still remains a core focus for Pfizer, the recent official transition of the pandemic stage of the disease in the U.S. to an endemic one will hit its stellar sales. Pfizer will need to rely more on its pipeline of cancer and rare disease therapies for future growth.