BAYER AND DAYQUIL TRY ALLERGY LINES

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The coming allergy season will be marked by new entries from several major marketers looking to grab a piece of the growing segment.

Eastman Kodak Co. unit Sterling Winthrop will continue to expand its Bayer Select line with the introduction of Bayer Select Allergy Sinus in May.

The launch will be supported by the first ads from BBDO Worldwide, New York, since the agency wrested the estimated $65 million Bayer account from N W Ayer in February.

The marketing effort includes a three-month national radio campaign starting in July, free standing inserts with $1 coupons in national magazines and a direct mail campaign. TV support will come from ads for the full Bayer Select line, which includes analgesics as well as cough/cold products.

In another first for the $318 million allergy segment, Procter & Gamble Co. is entering the fray with DayQuil Allergy, now being rolled out nationally.

The line-available in adult 4-hour and 12-hour, and children's varieties-will be supported by an $8 million TV campaign set to break in the coming weeks via D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles.

P&G also plans a tie-in offer of a free box of Puffs tissues with one purchase of DayQuil Allergy, as well as FSIs late this summer and point-of-purchase materials.

The P&G product uses less-sedating antihistamines than Warner-Lambert Co.'s top-ranked Benadryl, said Michael Perlmutter, senior consultant with Kline & Co., Fairfield, N.J.

Sandoz Corp.'s "Tavist also uses a less-sedating antihistamine, and it helped with the product's amazing success," Mr. Perlmutter said. "You need a point of difference from the market leader to make it in this category."

Tavist, with an 8.5% share of the allergy segment, grew 94% for the 12 months through February, according to Towne-Oller & Associates.

Ciba-Geigy Corp. is hoping to win new sales for Efidac/24, the first 24-hour over-the-counter decongestant. The brand was introduced last fall, and new ads break in the next month from Jordan, McGrath, Case & Taylor, New York.

The ads continue to use "L.A. Law" star Richard Dysart but shift the target to allergy from cold sufferers.

"We'll also have point-of-sales materials to widen our customer base with an allergy orientation," said Jerry Cutler, Efidac marketing director.

New allergy products and advertising illustrate the growing overlap among segments in the cough/cold/allergy/sinus category.

"First, cough products extended into the cold market; now, cold products are extending into the allergy market," said Kline & Co.'s Mr. Perlmutter. "It's getting a little confusing for consumers."

Indeed, one Northeastern retailer said he won't be carrying the new Bayer Select product.

"They're all just trying to get more space on the shelf, and this line isn't doing well enough to continue to expand it," the retailer said.

Retailers aren't alone in worrying about Bayer's future. Sterling switched agencies and named a new president for Sterling Health USA-Steven G. Staves-in recent weeks, in large part because of faltering aspirin sales and a disappointing showing by previous Bayer Select items.

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