Lunesta Creative Returns to Deutsch

With Competitor Tylenol at Another Interpublic Shop, Defector From Lowe Merger Brings Business Back

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NEW YORK ( -- Nearly nine months after Lunesta was throttled out of Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe due to the U.S. merger of that agency and Deutsch, New York, the combined shop has managed to reel the sleep-aid brand back.

When Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch absorbed Lowe's domestic ad agency operations last October, two account conflicts emerged. One was for allergy medication Zicam, which moved its advertising account to independent Cramer-Krasselt; the other was for Sepracor-owned Lunesta, which bumped up against Deutsch's then-premiere Johnson & Johnson Tylenol account.

Despite its efforts to hang onto the Tylenol business -- worth some $100 million in billings -- the creative account was shifted to Interpublic sister shop Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., after a review earlier this year. J&J has been reassessing its entire agency roster and other chunks of the account, such as J&J's Baby business, currently led by Lowe, are also now up for grabs.

Lunesta, meanwhile, is understood to have been without a lead creative shop for the past several months. A spokeswoman for Sepracor told Ad Age the company's agency of record is now Deutsch but didn't provide additional detail. Deutsch referred calls to the client.

Measured media spending on the brand dropped drastically between 2008 and 2009, according to Kantar Media. Marlborough, Mass.-based Sepracor spent a total of $111 million on U.S. marketing the Lunesta brand in 2008, but that fell to $20 million last year. The marketer is already on track to surpass that number, though, having spent $14 million between January and April of 2010, according to Kantar. RJ Palmer is Lunesta's media agency.

It's unclear when new ads from Deutsch will run, but advertising is a sensitive matter right now for the brand. Earlier this month it received a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration over allegedly misleading claims in a TV ad that imply Lunesta is "clinically superior to other medications for the treatment of insomnia and that Lunesta will be an effective sleep medication in situations where treatment with other medications has failed."

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