M&C Saatchi has won the pounds 5 million task of putting a human face on
the drugs giant created by the merger of Glaxo and Wellcome.
The appointment, by what is now the world’s largest pharmaceuticals
group, is the first corporate assignment for the Maurice Saatchi
The shop has been briefed to build the new company’s profile in Britain
and the US, its most important markets.
A spokesman for the newly merged Glaxo Wellcome said that, although
discussions with agencies had taken place, no decision had been taken.
But it is believed M&C Saatchi is already working on a TV and print
campaign which will break next year, although nobody at the agency was
available to confirm this.
The agency was chosen over McCann-Erickson, a Wellcome roster agency,
and Leopard, which is run by the former Saatchi and Saatchi chief
executives, Terry Bannister and Roy Warman.
The corporate initiative comes nine months after Glaxo paid pounds 6.3
billion for Wellcome, a deal which will result in the loss of 7,500 jobs
over the next three years.
The campaign will target governments and opinion formers and aim to
establish a clear identity for the company by stressing the importance
of its research and development programme in the fight against illness
Executives are anxious that the Glaxo Wellcome name should become well
known in a market in which a takeover frenzy has created a plethora of
They also want to ensure it is able to operate in the best possible
trading conditions, particularly as its best-selling anti-ulcer drug,
Zantac, is due to go on sale over the counter in the US next year.
Zantac will lose patent protection in the US in mid-1997 along with
Zovirax, Wellcome’s anti-herpes medicine. Cheap copycat versions
threaten to strip dollars 2 billion from the company’s annual sales in
For M&C Saatchi, the appointment extends the corporate expertise built
up by David Kershaw and Bill Muirhead, two of its founding partners, and
Simon Dicketts and James Lowther, the joint creative directors, all of
whom helped develop such campaigns for BP and ICI while at Charlotte