Bayer consolidates marketing with Omnicom Group and WPP

AdAge finally broke the story regarding the consolidation news that Omnicom Group and WPP were now in complete control of Bayer’s $1 billion marketing account. Bayer had been looking for a full review of its online and offline advertising agencies since the total number had grown to over 400 around the world, not including outsourced partners and collaborations between local agencies.

MarketingWeek pointed out last year that within the UK a number of incumbent agencies were due to be affected by the review such as JWT, BBDO and Initiative.  Now that the review is over it appears the Interpublic’s Initiative lost the Bayer Consumer Healthcare media planning and buying duties. The interesting point was the sheer scale of the review as according to Forbes it is one of the biggest account consolidations and reviews in ad history. But is less than the General Motors $2.6 billion account review offered 2000.
But it appears that the original aim to consolidate all its account into one agency holding company didn’t succeed and WPP & Omnicom both emerge as big winners. Within the US, Bayer spends around $442 million across internet, print and traditional offline channels, but has rapidly increased its spending in magazines and online. The other two big consumer packaged goods companies to launch their marketing reviews are Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser who both have marketing budgets over $1 billion annually.
According to AdAge sources the process which has already started will take around 1.5 to 2 years to complete, and impacts on atleast 50 Bayer brands. Local Marketing Magazines estimate within Australia the Bayer account review is worth around $10 million annually.  The multiple brands within Australia that will be effected by the review include:
There is a number US Bayer companies due to be affected by the review are likely to be more noticeable as it accounts for at least 40% of Bayer’s annual marketing budget include:
One of the fastest growing segments is Bayer Health which was expanded in the 2007 with the take over to Schering Healthcare, and includes dozens of household products split between Bayer Schering Pharma and Consumer Care which are also included in the review. Some of the more controversial brands include Bayer Birth Control Products – YazYasmin.
Bayer defines its consumer care business unit as those products that are classed as non-presecription drug products and dietary supplements that seek to relieve pain, treat infections, correct definciency states, and care for health. Some of the more popular Bayer consumer brands include:
  • Berocca
  • Canesten
  • Amolin
  • Aspirin
  • Alka-Seltzer
Watching US law changes and regulators cracking down on Bayer and similar companies in the past, the review includes one of the more difficult areas for advertisers is the pharmaceutical business that offers women’s healthcare, speciality medicine, diagnostic imaging and general medicine, and will likely be the one that will be the most closely watched and liable for more legal action. One of the easier areas for the marketing is around Bayer Animal Health as Bayer makes some of the leading providers of parasite control and prescription pharmaceutical solutions for cattle, dogs, cats and horses and don’t have to deal with regulators.  Some of the many Bayer Animal health brands include:
  • Advantix
  • Profender
  • Drontal
  • Advantage
  • Advocate
  • Prolong
  • Racumin
  • QuickBayt
  • K-O Tab
  • Solfac Pro
  • Zapp
  • Rametin
  • Tiguvon
  • Baymec
  • Kiltix
The ever expanding Bayer Crop Sciences has grown steadily since the aquistion of Aventis in 2002, and now leads the world’s crop science companies in the following areas: crop protection, pest control, plant biotechnology, seeds and genetic engineering of food. Some of the more well known consumer products include Bayer Advanced and Backyard by Bayer but also include joint projects with ADM.
So what about online?
The task is massive as even from just the online perspective of the number of agencies who currently handle search optimisation, social media, web analytics, link building, domains and web hosting is more than a mammoth effort to be centralised and even get reviewed.  Within Australia Bayer owns at least 19 domains and most with their own website for each popular product but its global office around 1735 domains supporting hundreds of websites as each of their countries has a local website for a majority of their products. With Bayer operating in around 50 countries and having up to 50 products marketed locally there could be as much as 2,500 websites worldwide.