Under review: Novartis launches global assessment of media buying and planning duties

Novartis has its eye on media buying and planning in a global review of its businesses to find best agency partner fits. (Novartis)

Novartis is reviewing media buying and planning in a global evaluation of its agency partners.

A Novartis spokesman confirmed the review and sent an email statement from the company that noted the key role of its marketing in communications with patients, healthcare professionals and consumers.

“We are not simply selling products, but also innovative solutions designed to improve quality of life. Our commitment to improving outcomes for patients and caregivers requires us to persistently reassess how we communicate with them. We believe this is the optimal time to re-evaluate our agency relationships and operating model surrounding media activities,” the statement read.

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The agency review is being undertaken to “establish a best-fit solution for each or our businesses.”

Novartis’ last media review was in 2012, when it awarded the account to Publicis Groupe’s Starcom, which supplanted the incumbent WPP Group’s MEC, now called Wavemaker. When asked about the new review, Starcom to declined comment. At the time of its last media review, Advertising Age estimated the account was worth more than $600 million.

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The Novartis media review comes shortly after Novartis officially spun off eye care unit Alcon after eight years of ownership, which may require a change in media ad plans. Other marketing shifts may also come as Novartis adopts a focus on M&A deals for innovation, especially in pricey cell and gene therapies. All eyes are on its anticipated rollout of what will likely be the priciest drug on the market, spinal muscular atrophy cure Zolgensma, with an expected price tag in the millions.