Pharmacia reviews $125 mil media acc't

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Pharmacia & Upjohn is looking to consolidate its media buying, an account worth as much as $125 million.

Three shops are pitching the business: Grey Advertising, New York, which does buying for over-the-counter products; BBDO Worldwide, New York, which handles buying for the prescription products; and non-roster SFM Media, New York. Presentations are scheduled for this week.


A Pharmacia & Upjohn spokesman confirmed the review, saying, "We're looking at it for the whole company but it's in early stages." He would not give a timetable for a decision.

The shops involved all declined comment.

Pharmacia & Upjohn markets such well-known consumer brands as Rogaine and Cortaid.

According to an executive close to the review, the pharmaceutical company has told the agencies it expects to become one of the six-largest marketers of over-the-counter products in the next few years. It plans to develop new products and aggressively "pursue prescription-to-OTC switches," the executive said.


The product getting the biggest media push has been Rogaine, with $31 million spent in network TV, some $1 million in spot TV and about $4 million in print.

But the company has big plans for Detrusitol, a new drug for overactive bladder expected to be approved soon by the Food & Drug Administration.

"You should see the spending on Detrusitol at between $30 million and $50 million," the executive familiar with the review said.

Besides Rogaine, most of the media spending is on five other products: Nasalcrom ($16 million); Dep0-Provera ($8 million); Cortaid ($7 million); PediaCare ($5 million); and Caverject ($2 million).

Other Pharmacia & Upjohn consumer healthcare products include Dramamine, Kaopectate and Unicap. These brands, however, receive little media support.


The company has asked the three competing shops to limit their presentations to 2 hours each. One of the questions Pharmacia & Upjohn wants addressed in the presentations is the issue of media fragmentation and optimizers, and how they might effect the media buying on the account.

Optimizers, just coming into use in the U.S., are computer programs used to buy TV media schedules more efficiently.

The marketer also wants ideas about value-added programs the contenders could negotiate should they win the account.

Copyright January 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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