WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather launches new UK digital healthcare operation

The new company Ogilvy Digital Health seems to be a combo of two existing Ogilvy & Mather operations, Ogilvy Healthworld UK and Ogilvy Action.

Opinions vary as to whether or not this is just tidying up the furniture or the launch of a new big drive by WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather into the healthcare market.

WPP recently brought its healthcare operations in New York a bit closer together with the formation of Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide last year. Presumably this development in London is part of that process although the CommonHealth moniker seems to have been ditched.

Clients include GSK, Roche, Bayer and Pfizer, so just about everybody really.

Increasingly the most interesting marcoms company fight is between WPP, the market leader on about £12bn turnover, and Publicis Groupe in third place behind Omnicom on about £6.5bn.

But both companies are pursuing essentially the same strategy, digital and emerging markets.

Healthcare kind of fits into this because it’s a rapidly growing market worldwide and the wonders of the internet have already transformed the healthcare supply business. The likes of GSK and Pfizer also enjoy mouth-watering margins and some of this transmits to their agencies.

Publicis Groupe has upped its game in the field recently with the launch of Publicis Healthcare Worldwide and the purchase of French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s younger brother’s health consultancy.

Francois Sarkozy is now installed high up in Publicis Groupe, charged with increasing its health business and shadowing COO and heir apparent to Maurice Levy Jean-Yves Naouri (bet Jean-Yves is really chuffed about this).

So there’s a fight going on and the new manouevres at Ogilvy are clearly part of it.

The other interesting thing about all this is that O&M seems to have emerged as the premier WPP agency ahead of JWT, Y&R and Grey when it comes to doing something group-ish. This must be tough to bear at JWT and Y&R.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.