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With its fleet of brands across so many competitive categories and the security that comes with $10.2 billion in annual sales, Warner-Lambert Co. isn't often viewed as a risk-taker, yet Kaki Hinton has been able to guide the pharmaceutical company nimbly into innovative efforts.

"I think the culture at Warner-Lambert [offers] the encouragement to take prudent risks," says Ms. Hinton, now in her 13th year as director of advertising services.


Under Ms. Hinton's leadership, the company was one of the first to buy time on the fledgling Fox network in its first upfront TV-selling season in 1987. Similarly, W-L was an early supporter of the WB network and more recently Pax TV. And the marketer was a charter advertiser on in-school network Channel One.

Not all gambles have paid off -- but her desire to see around corners continues.

"She's very creative in her approach to media buying," says Joe Abruzzese, president, CBS Television Network Sales. "She's flexible, and with flexibility comes effectiveness."

Ironically, some of that maneuvering may have hurt the networks. In the last two years, Ms. Hinton -- who oversees annual advertising of close to $400 million for 27 brands ranging from Dentyne to anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor -- has led W-L to reduce its spending on network TV and add more to cable.

"You've got to follow the viewer," she says. "It's our job to make sure we reach as many consumers as we possibly can. And it's no secret that the broadcast networks share has gone down and where has it gone? It's gone to cable."

According to Competitive Media Reporting, in 1997 W-L spent $240.7 million on network TV and $25.2 million on cable, while last year its network spending dropped to $190.3 million and cable jumped to $38.6 million.

Ms. Hinton's desire to follow the viewer has led her to clamor for Nielsen Media Research to scrap its use of the diary method for monitoring local viewership in favor of local people meters she claims are more accurate. W-L spent $41.7 million in spot TV last year.

"There's a lot of money spent on spot TV, and those dollars are based on ratings supplied by a diary, which in our opinion, is flawed," she says.

Ms. Hinton, who came to W-L from Ted Bates Advertising, New York, where she was senior VP-media director, also has been an advocate for more family friendly programming as chairman of the Association of National Advertisers' TV Committee since 1994. Her efforts along with other advocates have led to an annual awards ceremony honoring family oriented TV and the establishment of a scholarship program for writers.


"I think a program can be fulfilling and deliver an uplifting message without gratuitous sex and the one minute of violence," she says.

As a former co-chairman and current member of W-L's Internet steering committee, she's helped lead the company's charge on to the Web in both online advertising and content with an alliance with that includes sites devoted to products such as Neosporin and the EPT pregnancy test.

"It's very important for Warner-Lambert to be [on the Web] because if we're not

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