Abbott Labs Eyes Mindshare

Pharma giant is in final negotiations to hire WPP media shop

(Steve McClellan) Abbott Labs is in final negotiations to hire WPP Group’s Mindshare to handle media planning and buying duties after a review, according to sources.

The incumbent, Publicis Group’s Starcom MediaVest Group, defended.

The client spent slightly more than $205 million in domestic measured media through the first nine months of 2009, according to Nielsen.Sources said that Mindshare and Abbott are still negotiating contract terms, although an agreement is expected to be signed in short order. This would be the second pharma account that the shop has won recently. Two weeks ago, Mindshare added media chores for Boehringer Ingelheim’s U.S. prescription pharmaceuticals business, according to sources. Boehringer spent $225 million in measured media on the business in 2008.

The two accounts effectively offset Mindshare’s loss of Bristol-Myers Squibb earlier in the year. BMS, which spent $420 million on measured media in 2008 and $320 million through the first nine months of this year, switched to MediaVest.

It is expected that Mindshare will handle Abbott out of its Chicago office. The account switch would take effect early next year.

Mindshare and MediaVest representatives declined to comment and referred questions to a client rep, who did not immediately return calls for comment.

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