Rockett Scores Hometown Win

Category marketing experience led to Rockett Burkhead & Winslow winning the account of Salix Pharmaceuticals.

The Raleigh, N.C., agency, which has doneproject work for GlaxoSmithKline, outperformed incumbent FCB Healthcare and Regan Campbell Ward, both in New York, for the business-to-business account.

Annual billings are undisclosed.

“RB&W has already proved to be a valuable resource to us,” said Salix brand director Daniel Lundberg in a statement. “The team provided strategic insight that will prove essential to the brand’s future success.”

Salix markets two prescription drugs for the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. One remedy, Colazal, an anti-inflammatory drug approved for the treatment of ulcerative colitis, launched in 2001. FCB handled the product.

“The client told us that wenailed the positioning,” said Walt Clarke, vice president of RB&W’s healthcare group. “The positioning of any pharmaceutical product is essential to the communication of the product. It informs everything you say about it.”

RB&W will create promotional materials and a primarily print advertising campaign for a second, as-yet- unnamed antibiotic that treats intestinal infections.

Clarke said the print work for the new drug will be based on distinguishing Salix’s product from two competitors, Cipro and Levaquin.

“Unlike the other drugs, this is a product that works specifically in the intestines while at the same time is nonsystemic—it stays inthe intestine,” Clarke said.

“Traditionally, we’re used to targeting consumers rather than physicians,” he said. “We’ll use our experience in consumer-focused advertising to create fresh professional advertising.”

Advertising addressing gastroenterologists will appear in professional medical magazines such as Gastroenterology Today, Practical Gastroenterology and Infectious Disease News next summer, pending approval of the drug and its name by the FDA.

In the meantime, RB&W will prepare launch materials for the promotional side of the campaign.

“We’ll educate the target audience to be prepared to accept the new product,” Clarke said.

These efforts will center around promoting continuing-education articles developed for the target demographic’s academic journals.

Raleigh-based Salix trades on Nasdaq under the symbol SLXP.