TURNOUT FOR TERMITES: BAYER USES DTC, PHONE TACTICS TO PUSH INSECTICIDE

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Bayer corp. is employing the tactics of direct response and pharmaceutical marketing for its Premise insecticide.

A $3 million TV and print campaign that breaks today from Bayer's agriculture division includes a toll-free number to reach consumers, even though the "termiticide" is only sold to exterminators.

This is the first time Bayer has aimed marketing for the 3-year-old brand at consumers, and the two spots from Euro RSCG Tatham, Chicago, are the division's first foray into direct response TV.

The goal is to increase brand awareness and "grow the market for termites," said Trevor Thorley, senior VP-sales and marketing in the agriculture division.

Mr. Thorley said competitors already do trade advertising, and Dow Chemical Co. has done consumer advertising for Sentricon termite bait.

'RAISE AWARENESS'

"There are some new competitors coming into the market as well. We want to raise awareness of our product," he said.

The Premise spots will run in 16 Southern markets that Mr. Thorley dubbed the "termite belt." Consumers can call an 800-number for a list of authorized dealers, as well as more information.

"The objective is to encourage consumers to ask for Premise by name," Mr. Thorley said. Print ads will run in Parade and The Orlando Sentinel.

The strategy was modeled after direct-to-consumer advertising in industries like pharmaceuticals, where prescription medications are advertised and consumers are referred to their doctors.

"There's been a trend we've seen in other industries where consumers are taking more control of their lives and choices," said Pam Crain, Tatham group account director.

The media strategy was planned to reach consumers in their homes.

"The idea behind the media plan was to reach consumers in the place where this message would matter most," Ms. Crain said. "It's why we didn't do radio or out-of-home, because it doesn't have the heebie-jeebee factor of sitting in your

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