AGENCIES INCLUDE: Interpublic's Alchemy, Deutsch, Lowe, McCann Erickson, Regan Campbell Ward, R/GA and Universal McCann Worldwide, N.Y.; Torre Lazur McCann Healthcare Worldwide, Parsippany, N.J.; Casanova Pendrill Publicidad, Costa Mesa, Calif. Omnicom's DDB Worldwide, KPR and OMD Worldwide, N.Y. Omnicom-backed Del Rivero Messianu DDB, Coral Gables, Fla. Publicis's Conill and Nelson Communications Worldwide, N.Y. WPP's CommonHealth, Parsippany, N.J.
POWER PLAY: When he was named president of the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America earlier this year, William Weldon set the tone right away. Instead of the usual ho-hum rhetoric, he introduced a new TV spot by announcing that this was how Johnson & Johnson planned on changing its direct-to-consumer advertising. The spot included a frank discussion of more risk information. He challenged the industry to follow his lead. It was bold, authoritative and, yes, a bit risky. But it nonetheless helped set the agenda of a category that had been likened to-gasp!-the tobacco industry.
DOWNSIDE: When he called out his fellow drug makers to follow J&J's lead on changing how DTC was to be presented, it was met with a combination of praise and a "Don't force this down my throat" mentality. Now, Mr. Weldon has to back it up. In the wake of the PhRMA guidelines-as well as more stringent self-imposed DTC guidelines adopted by both Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Pfizer-it will be interesting to see how dramatic the changes will be under Mr. Weldon.