SmithKline Beecham to review 125m media

SmithKline Beecham has started a review of its 125m media buying across Europe but denies changes are imminent in the UK.

A country-by-country review of media buying and planning has started with Italy and will move to other markets in mainland Europe.

The impetus for the review is the acquisition of Sterling Healthcare by SB from August 1994. SB inherited a roster of agencies with the acquisition and is looking to streamline the number of media buyers working for it.

The company’s media strategy is now to have one media buyer in each market, however, UK advertising manager John Blakemore maintains that the decision on media buyers will be made according to the wishes of local managers.

He also denies a pan-European solution will be forced on individual markets. “One thing we are not doing is looking to appoint one central media point,” he says.

Blakemore insists that no review is underway for the UK media buying. However, it is understood a UK review will become inevitable.

Blakemore has held talks with a number of UK agencies but he is one of the most media-literate clients in the UK and considers discussions with new agencies a part of his job.

In the UK, MediaCom handles 28m of the business against YMG Carat’s 6m. YMG came on to the roster with the acquisition of Sterling Health.

The company replaced Sterling’s BBDO Network and CM Lintas International with Ogilvy & Mather and Grey (MW June 29) in a review of creative in the summer.

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