DRUG TRADE GROUP READIES NEW CAMPAIGN: $16 MILLION BUDGET MOVES TO MORE TV, RADIO ADS

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Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America last week approved a new ad campaign in its continuing effort to improve the industry's image.

While the group's $16 million annual media budget will remain the same, the new effort will shift more spending into network TV, cable and radio and out of print.

TV buys will be more strategic, seeking sponsorships on health-related news segments in development on a CBS morning program and CNN, as well as the prime-time series "Chicago Hope" on CBS.

FROM SOMBER TO HOPEFUL

The trade group's most visible work to date has been somber TV commercials from Bozell/Eskew, Washington, a unit of Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckardt. The spots told stories about drug researchers; one that began airing last year was about a woman whose husband -- an AIDS researcher -- died in the crash of a Pan Am aircraft over Lockerbie, Scotland.

"The pharmaceutical industry, whose names and products you couldn't pronounce, was seen by consumers as secretive," said Jack Leslie, president of Bozell Sawyer Miller Group, a public relations affiliate of Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt.

"We intentionally shot those commercials to make researchers very accessible and to give a better sense of the motivations in their research. [But] the environment for the pharmaceutical industry now is a much better one, and the new ads will be more hopeful and uplifting."

ADS DEBUT IN MARCH

Ads will still include researchers but also add stories about consumers; production is to begin next month with ads to appear beginning in early March.

A network radio effort, to be handled by Eisner & Associates, Baltimore, will have a more news-oriented approach than the overall campaign to inform consumers of new drugs in development.

PhRMA's effort began in 1994 as a response to President Clinton's initiative on healthcare, when "a lot of negative attention was paid to the price of drugs,"

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