AHP Seeking an Image Groomer

American Home Products, the world’s seventh-largest drug maker, is talking to six or seven agencies regarding a $15-25 million corporate-image assignment, sources said.
The company, whose stable of brands includes Advil, Centrum, Denorex and Dimetapp, is hoping a corporate campaign might increase its visibility on Wall Street, sources said. The company has seen its stock price run from $43.93 to $70.25 over the last year. Last week, its share price hovered in the low 60s.
The Madison, N.J.-based client has a lengthy roster of agencies, including Young & Rubicam, Grey Advertising, Lowe & Partners/SMS and Avrett Free & Ginsberg, all New York, as well as Carrafiello Diehl, Irvington, N.Y. Roster shops are likely to be included in the review, sources said. The prevailing shop would have to work with the client’s in-house media planning agency, The John F. Murray Advertising Agency.
AHP and agency officials either declined to comment or did not return calls.
The client spent more than $320 million on advertising in 1998. The new assignment would be AHP’s first corporate image effort, sources said.
Y&R handles brands including Advil and Dimetapp, while Lowe runs Robitussin, Primatene Mist and Denorex. Grey oversees Anbesol pain reliever, while Carrafiello works on Centrum vitamins, among other projects.
AHP is currently in settlement negotiations on lawsuits stemming from diet pills it made using the fen-phen combination, which were withdrawn from the market in 1997. The suits-more than 2,600 have been filed to date-claim the pills caused heart problems. Thousands more suits are expected by summer, when time limits for legal actions expire.
-with Andrew McMains and Kathleen Sampey

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