Colle + McVoy Takes On Dog Arthritis Drug

Colle + McVoy looks to steal some of the market share it built for a competitor with its first work for Novartis’ animal-health division.

The Minneapolis shop today breaks a TV commercial for Deramaxx, a dog arthritis treatment. The prescription drug is Novartis’ answer to Pfizer’s Rimadyl, which was launched in 1998 with ads from Colle + McVoy. The shop dropped its Pfizer animal-health account in November to take on Novartis, for reasons that included greater growth potential.

The spot, running on network and cable, shows an aging dog struggling to descend stairs or jump into a car. After taking Deramaxx, the dog eyes the staircase hopefully and jumps into its owner’s bed. The tagline: “Deramaxx every day. Because the pain is every day.”

The work is meant to educate consumers that dogs also can get arthritis, said chief creative officer John Jarvis. “When people see their dog struggling to get up, most just think it’s old age.”

Consumer ads for Rimadyl, the category leader, were pulled in early 2000 after the Food and Drug Administration determined death was a possible effect of the drug. Subsequent marketing targeted veterinarians. Other competitors include Schering-Plough’s Zubrin and Wyeth’s EtoGesic.

Deramaxx is expected to take most of Novartis’ $30 million ad budget for animal-health products, sources said. Pfizer spent $20 million on its Rimadyl launch, while no spending was recorded last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.