GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) concluded the mandated global media review it launched in May with the selection of custom Publicis Media team as its global media agency of record, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
“GSK periodically reviews its reviews its media buying arrangements to ensure they are continuing to deliver the best value to the business,” GSK said in a statement to Adweek.
Publicis declined to comment, directing inquiries to the client.
Earlier this week, GSK narrowed the review—which was handled by ID Comms—down to four finalists: incumbents PHD and MediaCom, an unspecified Dentsu network and a custom Publicis Media team.
According to sources with direct knowledge of the matter, the process was largely price-driven, noting that the move is something of a consolidation as Publicis handles a good deal of creative work for GSK brands. The sources claimed the final stages of the review saw the client assemble all four remaining agencies at a hotel, pitting them against each other before delivering the news to them one by one until finally revealing its selection of Publicis. These sources characterized the final process of the review as “ugly and disrespectful,” comparing it to the elimination of finalists in the Miss America Pageant.
GSK spent around $1.58 billion on measured media globally last year, according to R3.
Earlier this week, GSK announced plans to cut 2,550 jobs in the U.K. and Switzerland over the next four years in an effort to drive profits, following its acquisition of Novartis’ consumer healthcare business earlier this year.