Player profile: Klein makes Quantum leap from generalist to DTC job

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Agency executives who work on healthcare accounts often say how motivated they are in a field where improving lives is the goal. Add Stuart Klein to the list of the medically motivated.

"There's a feeling you get when you do pure pro bono work that you don't get on any other work," the new exec VP-general manager of CommonHealth's Quantum Group said from his office in Parsippany, N.J. "There's a feeling of that here."

The 40-year-old Mr. Klein comes to Quantum from Y&R Advertising, New York, becoming the latest agency executive with extensive general consumer ad experience to shift to the mushrooming world of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs.

DTC EVOLVING

"As DTC continues to grow, it is evolving toward a more traditional package-goods world from an advertising standpoint," Mr. Klein said. A prime example is Quantum's work for Schering-Plough Corp.'s billion-dollar allergy drug Claritin, which Mr. Klein will now oversee along with Quantum President Matt Giegerich.

Schering-Plough became the first DTC advertiser to use a celebrity spokesperson when it tapped Joan Lunden in 1998, and the first to link with a professional sports league when it became an official sponsor of Major League Baseball last year.

Quantum has also made extensive use of pop songs in Claritin ads, using versions of such tunes as "Blue Skies," "Walking on Sunshine," and, as of last month, "After Midnight."

Don't expect that to stop under Mr. Klein. Claritin's musical history dovetails with his 18-year experience on Madison Avenue, where he was no stranger to catchy jingles.

Early on, he worked on "Raise Your Hand if You're Sure" campaigns at the now-defunct Wells, Rich, Greene. Later, at Saatchi & Saatchi, he helped develop Delta Air Lines' "On Top of the World" campaign with the "Adiemus" tune; the song became a pop hit in Europe, though marketing results were mixed.

But his biggest success as an ad disc jockey came in late 1994 while at McCann-Erickson Worldwide. There, he led the team that put together the campaign for Black & Decker Corp.'s SnakeLight, whichfeatured a version of Dion & the Belmonts' song "The Wanderer."

Black & Decker sold some 6 million SnakeLights in the product's first year, exceeding expectations of 1.5 million, Mr. Klein said. During his tenure at McCann from 1988-95, Mr. Klein also worked on Nestle's famed Taster's Choice soap opera campaign.

WORK ON MYLANTA

Though Quantum marks Mr. Klein's first immersion in DTC, he's no stranger to healthcare. Besides Delta, while at Saatchi from 1995-98 he worked on Johnson & Johnson, including the Tylenol and Mylanta brands. One 1995 campaign for Mylanta Gas used actress Estelle Harris of "Seinfeld" fame.

In 1998, Mr. Klein moved to Y&R, where most recently as a senior partner he oversaw the V-8 and Pepperidge Farm business for client Campbell Soup Co.

In addition to Claritin, Mr. Klein will oversee work on products such as SmithKline Beecham's diabetes treatment Avandia and Lyme disease vaccine Lymerix.

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