Bayer Corp. Stages A Bug-Off

Bayer Corp.’s agricultural division will hear presentations this month from “three or four” shops about a new lawn and garden pesticide, a company official said.
The as-yet-unnamed product was developed in tandem with fertilizer marketer Pursell Industries of Sylacauga, Ala., said Tim Mannchen, market development manager at Bayer’s Kansas City, Mo.-based agricultural unit. The product, which will be available in spring 2000, will be supported by a “substantially funded,” consumer-directed marketing campaign, he said.
Mannchen would not disclose the budget, but sources familiar with the review said billings could be as high as $20 million. Bayer’s agricultural division spent only $2.7 million on advertising last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
Bayer and Pursell, which makes Sta-Green and Polyon fertilizers, announced last month they would co-market lawn and garden products to consumers under the Bayer brand.
Mannchen declined to name the shops involved in the pitch, but said the company “looked at agencies familiar with the Bayer brand.”
Valentine-Radford in Kansas City provides marketing for the majority of Bayer’s agricultural products. Another Kansas City shop, Bernstein-Rein, handles the company’s pet care line. Euro RSCG Tatham in Chicago is responsible for vitamin and feminine care brands, and BBDO in New York has the company’s flagship pain relievers.
Pursell’s lead advertising agency is Gillis Advertising and Public Relations in Birmingham, Ala.; Swanson Russell Associates in Lincoln, Neb., has handled some additional business marketing work for the company. Pursell spent $1.1 million on measured media advertising in 1997, according to CMR.
Bayer hopes to select an agency by early 1999, Mannchen said.
–with Jim Osterman