Medicus Wins $50 Mil.-Plus Nolvadex Task

Medicus Communications has been awarded integrated marketing duties for Zeneca’s Nolvadex brand, following a review. Pending regulatory approval, the client is hoping to spend in excess of $50 million on advertising in the coming year, sources said.
Nolvadex, the brand name of the hormonal therapy tamoxifen citrate, is now prescribed after a patient has been treated for breast cancer to prevent a return of the disease. An independent study published in April by the National Cancer Institute indicated the drug may prevent breast cancer in healthy women with a high risk of developing the disease. The treatment costs $80-100 a month.
Zeneca is hoping the Federal Drug Administration will allow it to market the 25-year-old drug as a preventative medicine for patients who have not been diagnosed.
Previously, the brand was handled by several shops, including Sudler & Hennessy, a division of Young & Rubicam. Contenders in the review were not disclosed. The client spent only $1-2 million last year on trade and consumer ads for Nolvadex. Those untagged executions ran in women’s magazines, and consisted mostly of text dealing with post-treatment use of the drug. The current tagline on efforts aimed at physicians is, “Most studied. Most prescribed.”
Should the FDA give Nolvadex the green light, Zeneca is poised to begin a massive two-tier educational effort via the New York-based MacManus Group unit that will target doctors and consumers.
The FDA will make its recommendation by Oct. 31; direct-to-consumer ads could break by early 1999.
DTC ads would empower women, educating them about “outwitting this killer,” said Penny Hawkey, executive creative director for Medicus. “I think the tone would be celebratory and absolutely hopeful.”
“It’s an education issue,” said Mary Lynn Carver, program manager for Zeneca. “We want women to be very educated abut this issue so they can make informed choices.”