Sources said that when the brand hits the airwaves again, it is expected to do so with close to $50 million in advertising support, instead of the $90,000 spent on the base brand in 1992. Excedrin line extensions received approximately $27 million in spending last year.
For Bristol to pour money into Excedrin, sources said, it will require that the company move billings from its other pain-relievers: ibuprofen-based Nuprin and Bufferin. Both those brands have seen slow declines in spending levels over the last few years. Nuprin, a $30million brand when it shifted to J. Walter Thompson in 1990, spent $13 million in 1991 and $11 million in 1992, according to LNA. Bufferin, handled by LCF&L, spent $10 million in 1991 and $6 million in 1992.
Although Bristol executives could not be reached for comment late last week, people familiar with the company's plans said that it had made a commitment to Excedrin and its line extensions, and therefore it would receive the most marketing funds. "The question is how much do you give a Nuprin and a Bufferin, that have relatively small shares," said one source. Bristol, and agency JWT, have worked diligently to shore up Nuprin, but it has never been able to approach category leader Advil.
The blueprint for Excedrin's rejuvenation lies in Bayer Select, the five-product line relaunched by Sterling Drug with a $70-million campaign from Ayer/N.Y. that broke last year. Industry observers said that the effort has resurrected the brand from the analgesics graveyard.
Based on that idea, Bristol is said to be toying with the same sort of umbrella campaign, despite the fact that not all of the Excedrin products are at Bozell. Advertising for Excedrin Dual has been handled by LCF&L, which is not officially that line extension's agency-of-record. And, as part of last week's shifts, JWT became AOR on Excedrin PM. The other Bristol account move that occured last week was the shifting of Sea Breeze to LCF&L. Excedrin, Excedrin PM and Sea Breeze had been at DDB Needham New York, which resigned the Bristol account last month.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)