In its first TV spots from Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, the online pharmacy wants consumers to know it has a valuable gift to give them this holiday season: time.
The spots, which break today, portray busy consumers with little time to shop for incidental items such as deodorant and hemorrhoid ointment.
"The idea is, particularly during this holiday season, why go out and get mundane drugstore items when you need time to do other things?" said Senior Director of Communications Erik Moris. "When you need time to do other things, Drugstore.com comes to your house and replenishes everything before you need it."
Drugstore.com is spending $10 million on the fourth-quarter campaign that, in addition to the broadcast network and cable TV spots, includes online ads; radio in Boston, New York, San Francisco and Seattle; and outdoor ads in Austin, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Denver; New York; San Francisco; Seattle; and Washington.
Fallon sibling Duffy Design & Interactive, Minneapolis, handles the online advertising.
Drugstore.com's annual marketing budget is $30 million. Fallon won the business in August; McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Seattle, previously handled on a project basis.
In the spots, a white coat-clad "service team" visits consumers' houses, delivering Pampers, Preparation-H and other health and beauty aids. The tagline is "Drugstore.com. Let the drugstore come to you."
Developing advertising that would get noticed during this competitive holiday season "was a tough challenge," Mr. Moris admitted.
"People tend to lump dot-coms into one category. So the most important thing you can do for a brand is create an icon. In our case, the service team is our icon. An icon helps to personalize the brand," he said. "[That Fallon understands that] was one of the things that really attracted me to Fallon. An icon puts a human face on what can be an inhuman medium."
Advertising is a necessity for the marketer, which faces competition not only from other online drugstores -- such as CVS.com, More.com and PlanetRx -- but dot-coms in other categories, Mr. Moris said.
"We all want to capitalize on the e-commerce boom, and we all know this is going to be the biggest season ever," he said. "We can't afford not to be there in a big way. . . . The fourth quarter certainly will have record numbers of people buying online and we want our fair share. But if people don't know who we are,