Trone Takes Over Novartis’ Turf

Client Leaves EPB in New York for Its Greensboro, N.C., Backyard
ATLANTA–In a move partially brought about by geography, the ornamental division of Novartis Crop Protection Corp. has shifted agency of record status from the New York office of Earle Palmer Brown to its Greensboro, N.C., neighbor, Trone Advertising, without a review.
Trone has worked with other areas of Novartis, as well as its predecessor, Ciba Geigy. The shop is currently agency of record for the company’s seed treatment division.
In a statement, Novartis director of marketing services Michael Joyce said the location of the agency was an important facet of the decision to switch shops.
“With Trone, I know I can assemble the entire [agency] account team at our office in a matter of minutes,” Joyce said.
Earle Palmer Brown chief executive officer Jeb Brown characterized the parting as “amicable,” and noted that EPB would continue to work with Novartis’ animal health division.
Neither Novartis nor Trone officials would divulge account billings beyond saying it was a “multimillion” dollar budget. In explaining why his agency and Novartis went their separate ways, however, Brown said “their needs changed . . . their needs actually diminished.”
Competitive Media Reporting does not break out Novartis’ turf and ornamental business, but the company’s advertising expenditures for its agricultural and horticultural product lines amounted to $5 million in 1997 and $4.6 million through November of last year.
Representatives for Trone Advertising said they were instructed by the client not to discuss its projected 1999 advertising budget. They deferred all questions to Joyce, who was on vacation last week in New England and unavailable for comment.
The agency’s primary responsibilities will include advertising, public relations, collateral development, trade show support and media placement. Trone Advertising will also help Novartis launch several new products in 1999, including a fungicide for golf and lawn landscaping that can reduce the amount of chemicals needed to maintain healthy grass.