News | October 21st 2019

Ad Age | J&J Shifts Tylenol, Listerine and Zyrtec to Doner

Shift marks first big win for MDC Partners under Mark Penn; Stagwell-backed Code and Theory will also participate

Screen Shot 2020 11 20 at 10 25 11 AM

Credit: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

Originally published on Ad Age by Jack Neff and E.J. Schultz

Johnson & Johnson has moved its Tylenol, Listerine and Zyrtec creative accounts to MDC Partners’ Doner from WPP’s Wunderman Thompson in the first major pickup for MDC since Mark Penn took charge as CEO and a major blow to Wunderman.

The accounts also will get creative work from Code and Theory, according to people familiar with the matter, though J&J confirmed only the direct relationship with Doner. Code and Theory is backed by Stagwell Group, where Penn has remained as chairman after taking over as CEO of MDC in March following a $100 million investment in the company by Stagwell.

“Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health has decided to engage Doner to explore new creative options for advertising and digital marketing for our U.S. Self Care business, including creative work for Tylenol, Zyrtec and Listerine," a J&J spokeswoman in a statement says. "We believe Doner offers the specialized attention needed to support our marketing and growth objectives for our Self Care business. … We look forward to partnering with this talented and diverse team.”

The brands got $223 million in measured media support last year, according to Kantar.

A spokeswoman for Wunderman Thompson declined to comment. The move involves accounts that Wunderman, and its predecessor J. Walter Thompson, held for years or even decades, with Listerine having been in the agency’s hands across at least three corporate owners over 57 years.

Besides being the first major win for MDC shops under Penn, this is also the first major account shift since Alison Lewis left as chief marketing officer of J&J Consumer Health earlier this year. J&J didn't replace her.

Given the apparent involvement of Code and Theory as well, it also answers a question on many minds since Penn became CEO of MDC in March—whether the two holding companies he oversees will work together.

Says a Lot —

Latest

News — 

Ad Age | Top 5 Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion Efforts To Know About Right Now

News — 

PRNewswire | Stagwell (STGW) Digital-First Creative Agency Code and Theory Launches Industry's First Holistic Inclusive Design and Marketing Strategy Discipline

News — 

Ad Age | Marketing In The Metaverse —What Science Fiction Can Teach Brands About Web3

News — 

Code and Theory’s Dan Gardner named Campaign US 40 Over 40 honoree

News — 

Muse by Clio | Don't Talk to Me About NFTs and the Metaverse

News — 

AIGA Eye on Design | The Era of Rebellious Web Design Is Here

News — 

Webby Awards | Code and Theory Named Webby Winner in 26th Annual Webby Awards

News — 

The Drum | Adland's reaction to Musk's $44bn Twitter deal: 'a major disruption to its ad business'

Get in Touch

  • Find Us

    One World Trade Center,
    62nd Floor

    New York, NY 10007

    More Offices
  • Work With Us

  • Press

  • Careers

    See All Open Positions

We Are a Digital-First Creative Agency

What We Do

Born in 2001, Code and Theory is a digital-first creative agency that sits at the center of creativity and technology. With a global client roster of Fortune 100s and start-ups alike, we crave the hardest problems to solve and create end-to-end solutions that flex to meet the needs of today’s ever-changing business landscape.

Our Services

We provide a range of offerings built to support the entire ecosystem.

  • Data, Analytics and Research

    Our data-driven approach enables us to understand every aspect of end-to-end consumer journeys, and powers our work from start to finish.

  • Business & Organizational Consulting

    We work with our clients not only to define and deliver products, services and communications, but also to design the business itself.

  • Transformational Technology

    We help our clients reinvent their technical infrastructure and roadmap in order to deliver for the needs of today and tomorrow.

  • Services, Platforms & Products

    We create best-in-class platforms built around both the user and the business goals, often extending into connected physical expressions.

  • Integrated Marketing

    We deliver the right messages to new and existing customers across the entire ecosystem.

Our Offices

We have locations around the world.

Join Our Team

We're not typical, and neither are you. We're always looking to hire smart, interesting and forward-thinking people.
See All Open Positions

Code and Theory is a proud member of Stagwell Group. Stagwell is the challenger network built to transform marketing. We deliver scaled creative performance for the world’s most ambitious brands, connecting culture-moving creativity with leading-edge technology to harmonize the art and science of marketing. Led by entrepreneurs, our 13,000+ specialists in 34+ countries are unified under a single purpose: to drive effectiveness and improve business results for their clients. Join us at www.stagwellglobal.com

Get in Touch

  • Find Us

    One World Trade Center,
    62nd Floor

    New York, NY 10007

    More Offices
  • Work With Us

  • Press

  • Careers

    See All Open Positions