Novartis makes new magic by retooling Grant Hill ads

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Pro-sports players who are free agents not only can break a fan's heart when they move, but tend to make a marketer's life difficult.

So it's understandable Novartis Consumer Health had some concerns this summer when word broke that NBA luminary Grant Hill of the Detroit Pistons had inked a new deal with the Orlando Magic.

Last spring, Novartis launched a major campaign for its Lamisil AT athlete's foot cream featuring Mr. Hill, pictured in print ads in his Pistons jersey. Once he became an Orlando Magic team player, it raised the issue of whether the marketer might have to redo the ad. Airbrushing a Magic jersey on Mr. Hill, or something inexpensive, would have probably raised the ire of National Basketball Association executives.

(Fortunately for Novartis, the accompanying TV spot, which would have been very expensive to reshoot, has Mr. Hill in a generic jersey representing no team in particular.)

But as it turns out, Novartis planned to update the print effort with newly shot creative anyway, meaning Mr. Hill's trip south wouldn't bring an unexpected cost. Lamisil agency Grey Worldwide, New York, will shoot a new print execution soon with Mr. Hill in his Magic jersey.

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