Bristol-Myers Taps Under the Radar for Headache Medicine Brands

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NEW YORK ( -- Pharmaceutical maker Bristol-Myers Squibb has handed its Execdrin account, which includes advertising for brands like Extra-Strength Excedrin and Quick-Tabs, to Under the Radar, a two-man agency.

Spring launch
Julie Keenan, a spokeswoman for Bristol-Myers Squibb, said Under the Radar's current assignment is to create TV advertising for Excedrin's Tension Headache, set to launch at the end of spring. The agency already created spots for Extra-Strength brands and Excedrin's Quick Tabs.

Bristol-Myers Squibb spent $35 million

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on 10 Excedrin brands in 2002, putting $11 million against Excedrin's Migraine Pain Geltabs and $15 million behind Quicktabs Pain Tablets.

"We are 'under the radar,' but our objective is to put Excedrin Tension Headache very much on the radar," said Jimmy Cohen, co-founder of Under the Radar.

Months-long review
The small agency won the business after a months-long review. Excedrin split with longtime agency Bozell, owned by Interpublic Group of Cos., in December 2002. Numerous agencies competed for the account initially, including Omnicom Group's Brand Architecture International, New York, and sibling DDB Worldwide, Chicago; Cordiant Communications' Bates Worldwide; Interpublic's Gotham, New York; independent McCaffery Ratner Gottlieb & Lane, New York; and Under the Radar, which has offices in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. and Westport, Conn.

Mr. Cohen has nearly a decade of experience on Excedrin brands. As a copywriter and creative director at Bozell in New York in the 1990s, he worked on numerous Bristol-Myers Squibb products, but primarily on Excedrin. Tom Wambach, the agency's other founder, met Mr. Cohen when both men worked at Ogilvy & Mather in the 1980s. Mr. Wambach has held jobs at Jordan McGrath Case, New York, now part of Havas, among other agencies.

Mr. Cohen contacted Bristol-Myers after he and Mr. Wambach launched their business in 2001.

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Rich Thomaselli contributed to this story.

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