By Published on ., Medscape's new consumer healthcare Web site set to launch later this month, chose J. Walter Thompson USA, New York, as its first agency of record. The agency's first job: handling an estimated $20 million to $30 million fourth-quarter campaign.

Billings -- largely from media supplied by part-owner CBS Corp. -- could exceed $50 million next year, an executive close to the situation said. The selection followed a six-week review that included three other undisclosed agencies.


JWT's direct marketing arm, ThompsonConnect, and its interactive division, JWT Digital, both New York, will work together to develop a branding campaign for the new site that will include TV, radio, print, outdoor, online and direct mail. The agency also is developing an ad that will run in The Wall Street Journal the day www. goes live.

The campaign will roll out following Medscape's initial public offering of stock, expected by the end of the month. was formed in July with the announcement that CBS Corp. would acquire 35% of Medscape, a healthcare information resource for doctors and medical professionals, medical researchers and managed-care organizations.

Under the deal, Medscape received a license to use the CBS trademark and logo as well as promotion valued at $150 million over seven years across CBS media properties, which include broadcast and cable TV, and Infinity Broadcasting Corp., CBS' radio and outdoor subsidiary.

CBSMedscape faces formidable competition. The top three consumer health information sites are America Online's AOL Health Channel, and the National Institutes of Health site (, said Media Metrix.

However, Amy Brill, Medscape's director of consumer development and marketing, considers the brand a competitive asset.

"The Medscape brand brings tremendous equity as the gold standard in credibility and depth of content recognized by healthcare professional and consumers worldwide," she said.

To advertise, CBSMedscape will be "leveraging the full multimedia offerings of CBS where appropriate," she said. CBS properties will make up the bulk of the campaign, though Ms. Brill didn't rule out spending on other media.

The launch of the site, developed by MacManus Group's Blue Marble ACG, New York, will expand Medscape's online offerings, Ms. Brill said. Medscape will operate the Medscape Network, which will include CBSMedscape as the consumer resource and Medscape Professional ( as the professional resource.


Ms. Brill said CBSMedscape picked JWT to handle the campaign "based on their extraordinary creative talent, their depth and experience, and their ability to deliver in these ridiculous time frames that are the Internet world."

The agency considers CBSMedscape a valuable win. "Consumers will have access to some of the finest health and medical information available," said Philip Conklin, managing director, ThompsonConnect. "It's technology. It's dot-com. It's a huge, emerging market."

As for the competition, Ms. Brill said, "There is plenty of room for us all to succeed. In all consumer categories, brands will begin to differentiate

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