BAYER BOOSTS ONE-A-DAY WITH HERBAL SUPPLEMENTS BECOMES FIRST MAJOR MARKETER IN THE CATEGORY

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Bayer Corp. will be the first major marketer to enter the herbal supplement category by extending its One-A-Day vitamins brand next month, beating planned entries from SmithKline Beecham and American Home Products Corp.

An estimated $35 million multimedia campaign from Euro RSCG Tatham, Chicago, is expected to support the eight-product One-A-Day Specialized Supplements line, with TV and print ads by early October. It will continue the brand's current "Just what you need to feel your best" campaign.

Until now, the herbal supplements category largely has been driven by smaller brands, such as Twinlabs and Pharmaton Natural Health's Ginsana. But increasing consumer demand has spurred entries from major marketers.

SMITHKLINE, AHP NOT READY

This past spring, Celestial Seasonings launched a $25 million "What you do for you" campaign via Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, for a 17-product, multiple-ingredient herbal line (AA, April 13).

SmithKline has tested its Abtei line in Minneapolis, but has yet to roll out the brand; AHP's anticipated Centrum herbal line also remains in waiting.

Unlike SmithKline, Bayer didn't market test its line.

"The growth in the nutritional business is dramatic," said Jim Kindel, category director of vitamins and nutritionals at Bayer.

Herbal sales are up 72% to $489.5 million for the year through June 22, Mr. Kindel said, citing data from Information Resources Inc. And multivitamins "are benefiting from the same awareness as herbals," he added.

Multivitamin sales are up 11% for the year through May; One-A-Day sales, at 14%, exceeded the category, according to Mr. Kindel.

He said media spending for multivitamins will remain steady; expenditures last year were $19.5 million, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

"We've done the homework for consumers, who are extremely confused about the herbal products category and wonder things like whether they can combine herbals," said Mr. Kindel.

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