- Allergan picked Spark Foundry to be its U.S. media agency of record after a review that included Omnicom Media Group, Horizon and Merkle, Adweek reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
- MediaCom, which was named Allergan's media agency of record in 2002, didn't participate in the review, Adweek said. Allergan officials declined to comment to Adweek and didn't immediately return a request for comment from BioPharma Dive.
- If hired, the new advertising agency will have its work cut out for it, as Allergan tries to rebound from a series of setbacks that have pushed the company's stock down by more than 35% from its 52-week high.
Spark Foundry will be taking on a client that spent more than $378 million on measured media in the U.S. last year, Adweek reported, citing Kantar Media figures. That's down from $448 million in 2017.
The agency will be tasked with media strategy, planning, content and analytics for the U.S., according to Adweek.
Allergan's business includes a sizable portfolio of medical aesthetics products, led by Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA), as well as its pharmaceuticals offerings. The pharma expects medical aesthetics will account for a larger share of its business in the coming years, betting on what it sees as a growing acceptance of cosmetic treatment.
As a result, Allergan plans to spend $150 million a year on direct-to-consumer marketing through 2020, up from the $55 million average it spent between 2015 and 2017.
While medical aesthetics is growing, Allergan faces challenges in its pharmaceuticals business that have sapped investor confidence.
The reported hire of Spark Foundry comes a little more than a month after Allergan CEO Brent Saunders promised investors the company's board was primed to take "decisive action" amid growing investor frustration. Without giving details, the CEO told investors "the board is on it" and urged them to "stay tuned."
M&A missteps and pipeline failures have hurt Allergan. After a strategic review, the company decided to sell its women's health and infectious disease units, yet didn't reach any deals. In January, Allergan gave up on the plan to sell the women's health unit.
More recently, the company announced that a potential blockbuster depression drug, rapastinel, had failed in late-stage studies and released disappointing results for an experimental eye drug, abicipar. Both drugs were part of Allergan's "six stars," medicines that company executives promoted as potential top sellers.