Pfizer appoints WPP to global account

NEW YORK: Pfizer has appointed WPP to handle global PR work for three leading products in its cardiovascular franchise, including Lipitor, the world’s best-selling drug. WPP’s Cohn & Wolfe (C&W) will lead the team.

WPP has formed a new entity, WPP Health Success, to service the account in a move similar to Omnicom’s formation of One Blue in 2001 to service IBM.

WPP however, at Pfizer’s request, will assemble a dedicated team to work solely for the new entity. The two are now working to determine who will be a part of the team. WPP Health Success will operate out of C&W’s New York office.

‘Our goal is to put a single WPP face in front of them,’ said Howard Paster, WPP director and EV-P of PR and public affairs.

Four other agencies – Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton, Feinstein Kean Healthcare and direct marketing agency Wunderman – were involved in the WPP pitch last month and will continue to contribute to the Pfizer account.

Kathryn Metcalf, head of C&W’s healthcare practice, will lead WPP Health Success’s efforts, but Paster said it is still to be decided whether she would leave her existing C&W duties to focus entirely on Pfizer.

The account appointment comes two months after Pfizer pushed the world’s three largest marketing holding companies – WPP, Interpublic, and Omnicom – to assemble their strongest PR personnel, regardless of the specific agency they work for (PRWeek, 28 November 2003).

Earlier this month, Omnicom dropped out of the race (PRWeek, 16 January).

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