GSK names Edelman and Weber on roster to aid digital growth and integration

Edelman and Weber Shandwick are the lead PR agencies on pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline's new global marketing agency roster for its consumer healthcare business.

Roster overhaul: A GSK building in London (credit: Fiona Hanson/PA)
Roster overhaul: A GSK building in London (credit: Fiona Hanson/PA)

A total of nine agencies are on the roster, which was reviewed following GSK Consumer Healthcare (GSK CH) and Novartis creating a major joint venture at the start of 2015.

Edelman and Weber Shandwick are the two agencies on the roster handling PR, and both have also been given other briefs:

  • Advertising: Grey, Saatchi & Saatchi, Weber Shandwick, Havas
  • Digital: WPP Digital, Havas, Weber Shandwick
  • Content: WPP Digital, Havas, Edelman, Weber Shandwick
  • PR: Edelman, Weber Shandwick
  • Expert relations: McCann Health, Ogilvy Commonhealth
  • Shopper: Geometry

On the PR front, it is intended that Edelman will oversee four of GSK CH's five categories globally, namely oral health, pain relief, respiratory and nutrition/digestive health, while the skin health category will be handled by Weber. However, GSK CH's global lead for comms and content Sarah Hodson said this may vary on a geographical basis, according to need.

GSK CH had previously worked with both Weber and Edelman, and with various other PR firms on a local basis.

Hodson said the new roster signalled GSK's commitment "to be the leading FMCH [fast-moving consumer healthcare] company", combining its scientific and healthcare industry expertise with the speed and branding capabilities of an FMCG firm.

"Consumer behaviour is changing and so one objective of the agency review is to ensure we are driving consumer first marketing to deliver the right message through the right channel at the right time effectively across the marketing mix," she said. She added that the company would increase its investment in digital to "create more efficiencies with targeted digital marketing supported with agencies we believe can help us achieve our ambition".

Consumer healthcare accounts for a quarter of GSK turnover.

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