4 Vie for $15 Mil.-Plus Web Biz

VitaminShoppe.com, a vitamin and supplement site that rivals MotherNature.com and GNC.com, is in the late stages of a creative review, the client confirmed. New York shops Merkley Newman Harty, M&C Saatchi, Kaplan Thaler Group and Fuel N.A. are pitching an account believed to be worth more than $15 million.
Assisting with the review is Acme Idea Co., a Norwalk, Conn., brand consultancy founded by former Grey Advertising executives. Pitches are scheduled for next week. The shops declined comment; Acme referred questions to the New York client, which confirmed the review. “We want to make sure our advertising is fresh and reflective of our target strategy,” a representative said.
Recent TV, radio and print ads by Fuel, formerly Compelling Content, touted the site’s broad selection and used the tagline, “How healthy do you want to be?”
One TV spot contrasted an unctuous character who sells used wedding dresses (“These days, you can buy anything on the Web”) with VitaminShoppe, which offers “experience you can trust.”
The client spent about $5 million on media in the first 11 months of 1999, according to Competitive Media Reporting. But one source said that overall spending ballooned late last year–to $15 million in the fourth quarter alone.
–Andrew McMains