Starcom MediaVest Group scoops $600m global Novartis media

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Novartis: drug manufacturer's headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Novartis: drug manufacturer's headquarters in Basel, Switzerland

Starcom MediaVest Group has rounded off the year by picking up the $600 million (£384 million) media account for drug giant Novartis from MEC.

The account, which includes over-the-counter medicines including Tixylix, Savlon and anti-smoking product Nicotinell, is worth £9m in the UK, according to Nielsen.

The global account is expected to be run from Starcom MediaVest Group’s London office. The Publicis-owned agency will take on the business in April.

In a statement, Novartis said: "After an extensive evaluation and careful consideration, we can confirm that Novartis has selected Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG) as our new global media agency. While we are not remaining with GroupM, we appreciate the relationship we have had with them over the past several years."

The review of the account kicked off in April this year. In October, the drug company shortlisted Starcom MediaVest Group and the incumbent, following the elimination of fellow shortlisted agency Initiative.

Novartis, which is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, has three other businesses called Pharmaceuticals, Vaccines and Diagnostics, and Sandoz Generics, a global supplier of generic medicines that are produced after a popular medicine's patent has expired.

In 2008, Novartis consolidated its US media planning and buying into MEC after moving its business from sibling agency Mindshare in a global realignment.

Follow Mark Banham on Twitter @Banham72

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