FAST-GROWING CVS DRUG CHAIN STARTS BRANDING ADS

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CVS, the drug chain growing into one of the largest in the U.S., this week launches a branding campaign that could signal a war for market share in the rapidly consolidating industry.

The chain earlier started a review of its account, which could hit $40 million after a planned merger.

With almost 2,600 stores in 15 states, CVS is about to acquire rival Revco, making it second to Walgreen Co.

TV spots from Ingalls Advertising, Boston, contrast the carefree games of a girl's childhood with the demands put on her as she becomes a mother, sometimes caring for both children and parents.

Ingalls will be in the review.

Last year, J.C. Penney Co. bought Eckerd Corp. and another chain, Rite Aid, bought Thrifty Payless. The consolidation is a result of competition from direct marketers, large discount chains and supermarkets, as well as managed-care health plans working to keep prices low.

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