GLAXO CONSOLIDATES $100 MIL IN DTC BUYING AT MEDIA EDGE: GREY IS HARDEST HIT, GIVING UP $60 MIL; SHOPS KEEP CREATIVE WORK

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Focusing its ballooning $100 million direct-to-consumer media budget for efficiency, Glaxo Wellcome consolidated the business with non-roster agency Media Edge, New York.

U.S. media buying for DTC prescription drug ads was previously handled by about 15 agencies that also have creative responsibilities. Glaxo workhorse Grey Advertising lost the most in billings-up to $60 million in combined media.

Media Edge and Glaxo-the top DTC ad spender since 1995-signed a non-binding letter of intent and must now work out a final contract for 1998 media buying.

15 SHOPS AT START OF REVIEW

With help from the Bedford Group consultancy, the review launched in March. More than 15 agencies were invited to submit proposals, and that field was later narrowed to Media Edge, Grey and Zenith Media (AA, May 19).

Glaxo sought "experience in major geographic markets, experience in buying major media categories as demonstrated in case studies, plans for staffing the Glaxo Wellcome account, as well as general philosophies and approaches to the marketplace."

In 1996, Flonase received $32.7 million and Serevent $16.4 million in media support, handled by Grey. Imitrex was supported by $20.9 million via Zenith.

As with all Glaxo creative agencies, Grey keeps brand assignments for Flonase allergy nasal spray, and for Serevent and Flovent asthma inhalers. Creative and media planning for Imitrex migraine treatment remain at Klemtner Advertising, a unit of Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising.

An estimated $10 million print campaign behind Flovent, the brand's first support, began in June. The advertising pictures asthmatic Olympic runner Jackie

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