Publicis Groupe acquires Watermelon Healthcare Communications

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | March 23, 2011
The move aims to strengthen the group's position in strategic healthcare communications.

Publicis Groupe is all set to acquire a majority stake in Mumbai-based healthcare advertising agency, Watermelon Healthcare Communications. On completion of this transaction, this entity will become part of Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG) and will be renamed Publicis Life Brands Watermelon. The transaction is subject to customary local closing conditions.

Watermelon's founders, Abhijit Shitut and Kiran Pai, will be named joint managing directors at Publicis Life Brands Watermelon (PLB Watermelon). Debasish Mukherjee, co-founder of the digital arm, Watermelon Digital Solutions, now will spearhead the digital offerings of PLB Watermelon.

Watermelon is a full service advertising agency that has built its business around traditional and new media since its inception in 2003. Comprising 40 employees, the agency delivers strategic planning, digital and branding, creative, medical education, research, public relations and healthcare professional and consumer communications.

Watermelon has received many awards, including 12 awards of excellence at the recently concluded Rx Awards. Watermelon's client roster includes many pharmaceutical and biotech companies such as AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck Specialties, MSD Pharmaceuticals and Novartis, to name a few.

On the occasion, Shitut says in an official communiqué, "We believe being a part of PHCG will help us change the landscape of healthcare communications in India."

Adding to that, Pai says, "Because PHCG is revered for its excellence in global communications in the healthcare sector, we look forward to working together in leveraging its knowledge and global network in our local market."

Ash Kuchel, president, PHCG Asia Pacific, remarks, "PHCG looks forward to welcoming Watermelon to its network. Watermelon is the right fit and has the expertise to further develop our healthcare communications credentials in new media and best-in-class practices in this important and rapidly emerging market." PHCG will continue to expand its global presence throughout the region in the near future, he adds.

For the record, a division of Publicis Groupe, PHCG manages top tier agencies specialising in promoting innovative solutions in advertising, medical education, sales and marketing, digital, market access, and medical and scientific affairs. With nearly 3,000 employees, PHCG manages 17 agency brands through 45 offices located in 11 countries.

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