Pfizer puts agency partners on notice with wide-ranging review that includes PR

CMO Drew Panayiotou is leading the review.

Pfizer works with a range of PR firms. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

NEW YORK: Pfizer is conducting a full agency review, including its PR accounts.

The pharmaceutical giant’s newly minted CMO, Drew Panayiotou, is directing the review “as a part of the ongoing transformation to becoming the best-in-class marketers of science,” a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement. 

Pfizer is also planning to hire talent in various roles to complement the review. A Pfizer spokesperson declined additional comment.

In recent years, Pfizer has worked with PR firms including Weber Shandwick, Ogilvy, Real Chemistry, Dini von Mueffling Communications, Porter Novelli and Edelman. 

In one of Pfizer’s most recent campaigns, the drugmaker has been promoting its updated bivalent COVID-19 booster. The company’s ads feature celebrities including lifestyle icon Martha Stewart; musicians Charlie Puth, Pink and Questlove; actor Jean Smart and Olympic gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps in its attempt to target a younger demographic.

The New York-based company has also been touting its treatment for COVID-19, Paxlovid, with a branding campaign featuring the tagline, “If it’s COVID, Paxlovid.”

Pfizer’s earnings rose to a record $100 billion last year. The company said $57 billion of that was driven by its vaccine and antiviral pill Paxlovid, but it expects its revenue to decline by as much as 33% in 2023 as the world emerges from the pandemic.

Major pharmaceutical companies’ reputations have dipped as the world moves into a stage of the pandemic that’s closer to normal, after a surge during the height of the pandemic. According to a study by corporate reputation monitoring and management platform Caliber, the reputations of Pfizer and Moderna dropped in the 2022 ranking, as did those of Novartis, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

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