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All-conquering Publicis snaffles Pfizer creative from IPG

Ad holding companies seem to be running two different races this year: Publicis Groupe, which has just snaffled most of Pfizer’s creative from Interpublic, in the fast lane. The rest occupying the other one.

Just a year ago Pfizer, riding high on the success of its anti-covid vaccine, hired IPG to handle creative and Publicis to do the rest including media and what it called “creative production.” Pfizer spent $3.7bn on ads in 2023.

“Creative production” should have been a warning shot to |IPG, redoubled when Publicis landed its ‘Outdo Yesterday’ Super Bowl spot.

Now Publicis, which is also celebrating its share price briefly topping $100, has all the creative apart from health work (probably substantial.) IPG also keeps PR.

Pfizer, which is itself suffering a post-covid hangover with revenue down 40%, says: “As Pfizer evolves its marketing model, the company is deeply committed to the flexible, two-agency partnership that was put in place last year. Publicis and IPG, each with their respective areas of responsibility, will continue to help drive cutting-edge and data-driven integrated marketing communications focused on the value of our science and our breakthroughs.”

Like most major advertisers these days Pfizer doubtless reserves the right to use other agencies for creative as it sees fit or as they persuade. But this is still a kick in the teeth for IPG, which is suffering more than most of its rivals from zero growth and redundancies.

By contrast Publicis is storming ahead, now valued at $27.5bn, ahead of Omnicom at $19bn, Interpublic at $12.5bn and WPP, still the biggest by revenue, at $10bn.

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