Longs gives Pickett $22 mil acc't

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West Coast chain Longs Drug Stores Corp., stepping up its marketing in response to increased competition, has selected Pickett Advertising, San Francisco, as agency of record for its anticipated $22 million account.

Longs, with $3.7 billion in sales in 1999, is the sixth-largest U.S. drug chain, with 400 stores in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Longs spent $20 million in measured media in 1999, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

In addition to a TV and print campaign planned for mid-June, Pickett will help Longs with the launch this summer of an online initiative, said Jack Boland, Pickett president. Currently, Longs refills prescriptions through its Web site (longs.com), as well as offers health information, such as schedules for its community health screenings.

The win raises Pickett's billings to $65 million, with Longs now its cornerstone account; its other clients include Owners.com and Petplanet.com. Pickett bested Grey Worldwide, San Francisco and Los Angeles, the other finalist in the review.

DONER LOSES WORK

Doner, Southfield, Mich., Longs' agency for eight years, last produced a new campaign in 1998; that effort ran through the end of 1999 in major markets in California, Colorado and Nevada. In those executions, an average-looking young man goes from neighbor to neighbor asking questions appropriate to ask in a pharmacy. For example, in one spot, he goes up to a kitchen window and asks the woman inside if he can drop off film there. All spots end with a voice-over saying, "Do you have a question? Ask a neighbor. Just make sure it's the right neighbor. Longs Drugs. The one you've trusted for 60 years."

Longs opened 50 new stores in its last fiscal year ended Jan. 27 and plans 25 this year and 30 or more in 2001. KSL Media, San Francisco, will handle media.

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