Maxus Wins Valeant Pharmaceuticals

by Jamel D. Nelson , AdForum

Valeant Pharmaceuticals has tapped Maxus Canada as media AOR for its consumer health division. Darren Hardeman, managing director, planning and digital for Maxus in Toronto, said the account was awarded after an “informal review,” but declined to provide specifics.

Valeant’s consumer-facing brand portfolio includes Cold-FX, Swiss Herbal and Bausch + Lomb. The company had total revenue of US$2.3 billion in the most recent quarter, with its top 20 products – a mix that includes pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter products and devices – accounting for 36% of its total revenue.

The company focuses primarily on the areas of dermatology, cardiovascular disease, neurology and eye health, and has established a presence in over-the-counter brands that complement its prescription products. It recently launched the U.S. developed skincare product line CeraVe in Canada, and is beginning to establish itself as a major player in the eye health market following its 2013 purchase of Bausch + Lomb.

Maxus’ purview with Valeant includes media planning and buying, search marketing and content development. The latter has been part of the GroupM network’s offering for approximately two years, said Hardeman.

In a release Valeant Canada’s vice-president of marketing Veronique Hamel said the two companies share a role as “challenger brand[s],” enabling them to adapt and change quickly. Maxus’ association with WPP’s powerful GroupM unit also provides it with both clout and best-in-class support, she added.

Valeant’s position as a challenger brand plays a key role in its go-to-market strategy, said Hardeman. “You’re not just thinking about how to get the most eyeballs, but the smartest way to get the people that have the highest propensity to be your intenders,” he said.

Consumer health represents a new category for Maxus Canada, with Hardeman noting there is an additional cultural fit because both companies pride themselves on innovation.

Maxus’ work with Valeant will unfold over the balance of the year, with much of the work expected to focus on the Cold-FX brand.

“They’re a company that is based upon results, and Maxus is a company that loves to be accountable for delivering on client results,” he said. “This is a really good relationship for Maxus.”

Maxus is currently one of Canada’s fastest-growing agency networks, with the most recent Overall Activity Volume report from the Paris-based research firm RECMA pegging total 2013 activity at $153 million, a 50% increase from $115 million in 2012.

“We’re on a bit of a roll and it’s hopefully going to continue,” said Hardeman.


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