The agency replaces Ogilvy PR Worldwide as Bayer consolidates its global marcoms for the Viagra challenger brand into a single group. Euro RSCG Life was hired earlier this year to handle healthcare professional comms for Levitra, while Euro RSCG/Fuel is its global brand and ad agency.
A consumer-focused campaign, which will be implemented across 29 markets, is intended to run over an initial 18-month period. Far-flung territories on the agency's radar include the Caribbean, Australia and Malaysia.
Bayer's desire for an integrated marcoms approach for Levitra - launched with great fanfare to rival Pfizer's Viagra and Eli Lilly's Cialis, but which is widely seen to have struggled - is a blow to Ogilvy, which has promoted the product for around three years.
Explaining the agency switch, the drug maker said in a statement: 'Levitra is an important part of our portfolio and we required an integrated agency approach to fulfil our plans for 2005 to 2006.'
Biss Lancaster will handle 'extensive' media relations and brand strategy work, as well as 'creating and directing a global creative education campaign'.
Managing director of brands and healthcare Jonathan Sanchez reports to Bayer's global HQ in Wuppertal, Germany, and said he was now recruiting to staff the account.
Red Door Communications continues to handle UK-specific work on the Levitra brand.
Former Ogilvy London account director Cressida Robson left the agency earlier this year, it emerged this week, and is now working for Euro RSCG Life.