That's about $1.64 million per day, every day of the year. That's also about $1,100 a minute, for every minute of every hour, of each of those days. Wow. AdWeek tells us that the $600 million per year New Merck ad budget is the subject of a multi-agency "bake-off" -- to determine which firm(s) will win the ad work, post the Schering-Plough bust-up transaction's closing, thus:
. . . .Pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. has called a consolidation media review after completing its merger with Schering-Plough, according to sources.
Combined estimated U.S. ad spending on the account is close to $600 million. Merck spent close to $520 million from January through November 2009 on measured media, while Schering-Plough spent $55 million during the same period, according to Nielsen. Those figures do not include digital spending by the firms.
Incumbents on the Merck business include Interpublic's Draftfcb and Initiative, which are participating in the review, per sources. Draftfcb handles planning and some buying, including digital and print. Initiative handles TV buying.
One incumbent on Schering-Plough is Havas' MPG, which is also said to be pitching. . . .
Wow. That's a lot -- more than half a billion dollars, to be spent on pitching products doctors are supposed to want to prescribe independently, as live-saving medicines, on their own merit -- without need of patients asking after them, and driving pull-through.
I do understand that some of this is for institutional ad spending -- but really, $600 million? Wouldn't R&D be a more fruitful vineyard for such expenditures (except maybe $10 million of it, allocated to institutional advertising)?