Flovent

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Recent online media: Yahoo.com, iVillage.com, Medscape.com, AOL Time Warner's Netscape.com (Source: Jupiter)

Ad forms used: Banners

Agency: Answerthink

Target audience: People who have respiratory illnesses, including asthma, allergies, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or who want to stop smoking

Online exposure: GlaxoSmithKline has been expanding its online spending dramatically since launching the site in February. Buying only 8000 impressions in March, it bought 22.7 million impressions for ibreathe.com in June. (Source: Jupiter).

GlaxoSmithKline is among the companies that don't own the Web addresses that would be most closely associated with their brands.

The company does not own the URL flovent.com to promote its Flovent asthma drug. But it's not what you think. Rather than being owned by an Internet squatter, the URL is owned by another company, Flomerics, which simply got there first back in January 1996, in obtaining it as a tool to promote Flovent Software.

"Obviously, it was something we would have liked to have had but it wasn't available so we went with an alternative way of approaching it," says a GSK spokeswoman of the URL. So what's a marketer to do?

In the case of Flovent, an inhaler that was approved in 1996 and receives considerable TV and print ad support, the company has taken a portal strategy for its online promotions. Though the company denies its strategy is to combat the loss of the URL, in February it launched ibreathe.com, which it advertises through banner ads on sites such as CBS Healthwatch, where it sponsors the asthma section. Before the launch of ibreathe.com, GSK had a mini-portal for its asthma treatments, including Flovent, called asthmacontrol.com, but GSK wanted to bring its respiratory portfolio under one umbrella site and expanded from "asthmacontrol" to "ibreathe."

The site ibreathe.com seeks to provide information on treatments for the four conditions GSK treats in the respiratory area: asthma, allergies, smoking cessation and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. At ibreathe, consumers can click through until they get to a locale that functions as a Flovent home page. Consumers can also sign up to receive newsletters about each condition.

GSK wouldn't divulge online spending. Flovent spent $63 million last year in all media, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.

The company has slowly been ratcheting up its online spending. According to Jupiter Media Metrix, GSK bought upward of 22.7 million impressions for ibreathe.com in June 2001, up from 7.9 million in May.

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