Bates Lands Diabetes-Drug Duties

Bates has won crea tive duties for Bristol-Myers Squibb’s diabetes drugs, following a six-month review, sources said.

Among the shops that competed for the estimated $90 million business were J. Walter Thompson, Ogilvy & Mather and Rob ert A. Becker Euro RSCG, all New York, sources said. It is unclear if incumbent MNH Healthworks, a division of Merkley Newman Harty & Partners, defended.

As part of the assignment, Bates, New York, will handle direct-to-consumer advertising for Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Glucovance and Glu co phage XR, both treatments for type 2 diabetes. MindShare continues to handle media for the drugs.

The client did not return phone calls.

Bristol-Myers Squibb spent $25 million on measured media for Glucovance in 2001 and nearly $80 million on Glucophage XR during the same period, according to CMR.

Sources declined to specify why the media budget would drop to $90 million this year, but said the bulk of it could go to Gluco vance, which combines two glucose-lowering drugs in one pill for blood-sugar control.

A recent campaign for the franchise was for Glucophage XR, a once-a-day tablet that helps lower blood sugar. The effort, via MNH Healthworks, focused on the ease of taking only one pill and featured the tagline, “Once a day, on your way.”

Both drugs are successors to Glu cophage, whose patent expired in 2000. After that, Bristol-Myers Squibb focused on marketing Glucophage XR and Glucovance.