Bayer to Hear Pitches for Its New Pesticide

Bayer Corp.’s agricultural division will hear presentations this month from “three or four” shops about a new lawn and garden pesticide product, 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 division. The product will be available in the spring of 2000 and will be supported by a “substantially funded,” consumer-directed marketing campaign, he said.
Mannchen would not disclose the billings, but sources familiar with the review said the budget 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 agencies involved in the pitch, but said the company “looked at agencies familiar with the Bayer brand.”
Valentine-Radford in Kansas City handles the majority of Bayer’s agriculture product marketing. Another Kansas City shop, Bernstein-Rein, handles the company’s pet care products. Euro RSCG Tatham in Chicago handles vitamins and feminine care products, while BBDO New York handles the company’s flagship pain relief products, such as Alka Selzer and Bayer aspirin.
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