Big Retains BioLife’s Creative, Media Planning

Big Communications has successfully defended its BioLife Plasma Services account, holding off three undisclosed Midwest shops in a review.

The Birmingham, Ala., agency retains television, print, outdoor and direct-mail creative and media planning chores. Media buying, previously handled by the shop, remains under review and is likely to go in-house, according to Will McKee, agency vice president of account services.

The Deerfield, Ill.-based client, which operates plasma-collection centers in 10 markets, placed its estimated $2 million advertising ac-count in review after parent company Baxter International of Chicago established an additional 20 territories in the Midwest.

“We’d worked with the original company when they were Community Bio-Resources and in only 15 markets,” said McKee. “Our creative was solid, but when they grew so big, corporate wanted to hold a review.”

Earlier advertising positioned the company as an entity that helped save lives.

“There’s often a negative perception of for-profit plasma centers,” said McKee, “especially when compared to non-profit blood-donation charities like the Red Cross.”

Targeting college students in need of ready cash, Big used Baxter, a pharmaceutical research company, as the linchpin. “We pointed out the different diseases and medical conditions, like hemophilia and immune system deficiencies, that the client helps,” said McKee.

New advertising, developed for the pitch, takes a slightly different approach. Print work, which will run in college newspapers and dailies, centers around the consumer as the main beneficiary.

One headline, for example, reads, “You just sprung for 2 a.m. pizza. And it was a real life saver.” Another, targeting general consumers, states, “You just paid for your trip to the mountains and gave someone else a new outlook.”

The new campaign, scheduled to break in June 2003, will appear in English nationwide and in Hawaii. Spanish versions will run in South Florida and Texas.