CHATTEM ROLLS $12 MIL AD EFFORT TO REVIVE BAN: LINE EXTENSION, NEW PACKAGING KEY TO BOOSTING STRUGGLING BRAND

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Chattem gives the venerable Ban deodorant brand a face-lift this month, backing the effort with a $12 million ad campaign that breaks in June.

This is the marketer's first effort to revive Ban since it bought the 44-year-old brand in March 1998 from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

The advertising will include TV, radio and couponing, and will push fresh packaging and a new line extension, Ban Ultra Dry.

Ron Galante, senior VP of new-business development at Chattem, declined to provide further details or identify the agency handling the account.

In its quarterly report to shareholders, Chattem said it spent $25 million during the first quarter in support of its brands, which include Gold Bond medicated powder, Dexatrim appetite suppressant and PhisoDerm skin cleansers.

In 1998, Chattem spent $95 million in measured media, with $10.4 million of that supporting Ban, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

THE FIRST ROLL-ON

Introduced in 1955, Ban claims to be the first "roll-on," adapting then-new ballpoint pen technology. But the brand has seen better days and long ago lost its position as the market leader.

With $94 million in sales in 1998, however, the brand is still the seventh-largest deodorant in the $1.6 billion segment. But its share has dropped to 5.9% from 7.5% in 1995, according to Information Resources Inc.

The company's latest reformulated entry, Ban Ultra Dry, faces stiff competition.

Procter & Gamble Co. in May introduces its Secret Platinum extension to its top-selling Secret brand. P&G is expected to spend $10 million on the introduction, with another $12 million likely supporting the rest of the line.

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