SMA, owned by pharmaceutical giant Wyeth, has appointed Publicis to handle the £3m advertising business to promote its eponymous baby formula line.
The agency was up against Abbott Mead Vickers. BBDO.
Ten-year incumbent Euro RSCG Life declined to repitch. The pitch was handled by the AAR.
Media planning and buying, which is handled by Mediaedge:cia, is unaffected by the appointment.
Publicis’ brief will be to create an integrated consumer and healthcare campaign for the SMA brand.
The win comes at a difficult time for the agency, which has lost £90m worth of business, leading to around 50 redundancies.
Publicis lost the £28m MFI account to M&C Saatchi in November and Asda moved its £45m business to Publicis’ sister agency Fallon London at the start of January, as exclusively revealed on marketingweek.co.uk.
Its marketing is centred around SMA Progress brand – advertised in press and on TV in the “Take good care” campaign.
UK legislation bans baby-milk manufacturers from advertising products targeted at babies. However, SMA and other formulamilk manufacturers, such as Heinz, have been heavily criticised by a number of leading charities for their advertising practices.
Unicef and the National Childbirth Trust slammed manufacturers for using a loophole in UK law allowing them to bypass regulations banning the advertising of baby formula.