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WHY SANDOZ-CIBA ADS WENT TO PR AGENCY;RUDER, FINN BEATS CHIAT FOR PHARMACEUTICAL GIANT NOVARTIS

By Published on .

It's an assignment most advertising agencies would kill for: a $45 million global launch of a new brand.

But none of them will get the chance, after New York public relations agency Ruder, Finn snagged the Novartis account this month in a competition against TBWA Chiat/Day.

Swiss pharmaceutical marketers Sandoz and Ciba-Geigy will become Novartis when they complete their merger later this year.

Ruder, Finn, which listed both Sandoz and Ciba-Geigy as clients before the merger, was not even a supporter of the new name during the selection process. (The PR agency was consulted on the companies' decision but wasn't directly involved.)

FROM THE LATIN

Nevertheless, in a pitch that wowed Novartis management, Ruder, Finn laid out a compelling case for it to handle the launch of Novartis, which comes from the Latin for "new skills."

SOCRATIC APPROACH

Ruder, Finn sketched out a campaign that will involve many different media, including a major interactive component, said Michael Schubert, creative director. "We are using a Socratic approach-asking a question, giving pause, then offering an answer."

The campaign seeks to define Novartis as "innovative, revolutionary and a major world player," Mr. Schubert said.

BOLD MOVES

While Ruder, Finn was clearly an unorthodox choice, the merging companies said the decision to create a new name was an "unprecedented" step, one that will require more bold moves to be a success.

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