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After a nine-month ad hiatus, Johnson & Johnson's Acuvue contact lens brand returns to the air with a new $30 million campaign that includes a pitch to youth.

The effort is from a new ad agency and under the wing of a new marketing chief, Rusty Pierce, who joined J&J's Vistakon division as exec VP-sales and marketing a little less than a year ago.

The ads breaking today on national TV and cable, from McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, emphasize "experiencing the world the way nature intended," from "seeing every leaf on every tree" to "making love with 20/20 vision."

The youth-oriented spot refers to "having the vision of a top gun pilot" and features skydiving, skateboarding and dancing.

Print ads will begin in August issues of magazines.

"Everything out there is so product focused," said John Arehart, senior art director at McCann, which won the business from Ammirati Puris Lintas in October. The new campaign is "about celebrating vision and life to its fullest."

"I came in and wanted to push this in an emotional direction to help push people into the category," said Ms. Pierce, who had worked at Clairol before running her own business.

While the disposable contacts market has experienced 10% to 15% annual growth, she noted that only 20% of the people who need vision correction wear disposables.


With teens seen as a potential growth area, a college sampling effort is planned for the fall.

"Reaching youth is new for us; it's a tremendous opportunity. They're very activity- and vanity-oriented," Ms. Pierce said.

As VP-marketing at Clairol, Ms. Pierce helped launch Herbal Essences and the Nice 'n Easy campaign featuring Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

The last campaign for Acuvue was product focused and touted its UV protection lenses.

"We were off air for almost a year and made a conscious decision to do it against something strong" creatively, said Ms. Pierce. "We've had different looks and messages in the past and haven't really built the brand as much as we should have."

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