Four agency groups line up for Sanofi global media pitch

Winning media buying company could help market a vaccine for Covid-19 after French pharma company announced human trials for an experimental drug.

Sanofi: testing Covid-19 vaccine
Sanofi: testing Covid-19 vaccine

Four agency groups are in the running for Sanofi’s global media business, which is being reviewed as the French drug maker looks to start testing a potential coronavirus vaccine on humans.

Sanofi is understood to be considering Omnicom Media Group and IPG Mediabrands, as well as its two incumbent agency groups Havas (North America) and WPP’s Mindshare (rest of the world). 

Campaign previously reported that Sanofi spent an estimated €900m (£820m) on media at the time of its last media review in 2017. Publicis Media’s Zenith handled the majority of Sanofi’s media planning and buying before duties were split between Havas and Mindshare.

Havas, which is owned by French media conglomerate Vivendi, reported its healthcare business as one of the company's few bright spots in its most recent quarterly earnings report, whereas overall organic revenue slumped by 18%.

The pharmaceuticals company, whose brands include stomach medicine Buscopan and allergy eye-drop Opticrom, is developing "vaccine candidates and therapeutics" to combat Covid-19.

Translate Bio Inc said earlier this week that an experimental coronavirus vaccine it developed with Sanofi had yielded positive early results and expects to begin human trials in November.

Paul Hudson, Sanofi’s chief executive, has said this year that the company plans to step up investment in online marketing and do less face-to-face communication in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The company did not return a request for comment from Campaign. MediaSense is advising on the pitch process but would not comment.

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