PHARMACIA TRIES ANOTHER APPROACH FOR NASALCROM: NEW $8 MILLION CAMPAIGN FAVORS 'ORDINARY' STAR AS BRAND ENTERS ALLERGY SEASON

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Hoping people will begin to think about ragweed and hay fever before the fall allergy season sets in, Pharmacia & Upjohn this week launches a new campaign for Nasalcrom spray.

The effort is the first not to include a celebrity-an "ordinary" woman working in her garden stars in the new estimated $8 million campaign, aimed at women 25 to 54.

Since the product went from prescription status to over-the-counter in 1997, ads have featured Broadway actor James Naughton.

Jordan McGrath Case & Partners/Euro RSCG, New York, is the agency.

MAKING A DEEPER CONNECTION

With market position established in part by Mr. Naughton's visibility, the marketer is looking to make a deeper connection with consumers.

"It's time to get away from the spokesperson and evolve to use the sufferer as the hero," said Sandy Uridge, associate brand manager at Pharmacia & Upjohn. Allergies "are a very personal thing. It's your allergy, not their allergy, and if it's truly an emotional thing we wanted to get the consumer more in touch with how they're feeling."

The TV spots continue to position Nasalcrom as the only OTC allergy medication that can claim to prevent the onset of nasal allergy symptoms.

The tagline is "The best way to stop suffering is never to start."

STRESSING PREVENTIVE USE

Traditionally, Pharmacia & Upjohn mounts two ad campaigns a year for the product, each launched before the spring and fall allergy seasons. An early start is aimed at capitalizing on the product's preventive abilities.

The marketer spent nearly $23 million promoting Nasalcrom last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Pharmacia & Upjohn views Nasalcrom as a rival to such products as heavily promoted Rx entry Claritin from Schering-Plough Corp. to OTC brands such as Warner-Lambert Co.'s Benadryl.

COMPETING BRANDS SHOWN

The new spot features shots of Benadryl, Actifed and Tylenol Allergy Sinus, among other competitors, with the narrator claiming that Nasalcrom does not cause the side effects of drowsiness and dizziness like some other products.

Nasalcrom was No. 2 in the $458 million nasal spray, drops and inhaler category, according to data from Information Resources Inc.

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