Burnett Takes Allergy Pill

HMR Moves Its $64 Mil. Consumer Ad Account
CHICAGO–German-owned pharmaceutical company Hoechst Marion Roussel has moved the $64 million consumer advertising account for its Allegra allergy medication to Leo Burnett here, sources said.
Burnett’s assignment includes creative and media-buying responsibilities for the drug, sources said.
The account was previously at Medicus Communications in New York. Medicus was notified in early October that the consumer portion of its Allegra business would be shifted to another shop, although the agency has retained trade advertising for the drug, sources said.
Medicus, a division of The MacManus Group, New York, has worked with the client since 1985, when the agency helped develop consumer ads for Seldane, an Allegra precursor.
Medicus executives referred all calls to the client. Officials at Leo Burnett declined comment. Executives at Hoechst’s headquarters, located in Kansas City, Mo., were also unavailable for comment.
The client had been talking to other agencies for at least two months, sources said. Leo Burnett’s name only came up toward the end of the process, sources said.
The reason for the shift could not be determined. But sources pointed to the appointment of Doug Randall as Allegra’s new brand manager earlier this year as a likely contributing factor.
Hoechst spent $64.2 million on consumer advertising last year and $33.2 million over the first six months of 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
Allegra’s most recent advertising used computer-generated graphics to create a surreal image of allergy relief. The most recent TV spot, “Meadowskier,” featured a skier gliding through grassy fields to a jaunty musical score. The spot was created with the help of Industrial Light and Magic. Print ads featured such images as people snorkeling through flowers. The campaign was tagged, “Ahh … Allegra.”