The Buzz

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A West Coast cold-remedy company has tapped some of yesterday's stars (putting it politely) to hawk one of today's fastest-growing herbal concoctions in its first national ad campaign.

Greg Brady, aka Barry Williams, Charlene Tilton (of "Dallas" fame), Butch Patrick ("The Munsters"), Johnny Whittaker ("A Family Affair"), David Hedison ("Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea") and Phyllis Coates ("Adventures of Superman") star in germophobe spots that poke fun at being exposed to public coughing, sneezing and wheezing. The next round of Airborne packaging will contain a "name these people" contest.

Airborne, producer of the Alka Seltzer-like Airborne tablets that are all the rage with Hollywood types, stuck mostly to guerrilla marketing during its first five years. Now, the "Absolutely Airborne" campaign hits Martha Stewart Living, O, The Oprah Magazine and New York Magazine. TV spots will appear through February shows such as "Live with Regis & Kelly" and "Jeopardy."

"We've always had to use our wits to get in front of the consumer," says Rider McDowell, Airborne's CEO. "We had no choice."

Ad spending for the Carmel, Calif.-based company doubled, from about $2 million last year to $4 million this year.

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