WebMD Launches Campaign

Just as allergy season is beginning, WebMD last week broke a new campaign directing allergy and asthma sufferers to its Web site.

Eleven 15-second spots for the medical-information site, by The Gardner-Nelson Project in New York, each focus on a specific cause of allergies and asthma and direct viewers to asthma.webmd.com or allergy.webmd.com. One spot shows

several puppies romping as a voiceover says, “They don’t know they secrete a protein that makes millions of people physically ill.” Other spots feature images of mold, pollen, dust mites, and other allergy and asthma triggers. There is no tagline.

Ted Nelson, the shop’s co-founder, said he combed through stock footage to find the images. “We spent hours looking at dust mites,” he said, adding that using such footage, instead of creating storylines, “makes [the spots] feel more realistic and scientific.”

Ads are running on Fox Network stations, such as Fox News, Fox Family and FX.

Media is done in-house. The budget was undisclosed; WebMD spent about $50 million on ads in 2000, per CMR.

New York-based WebMD, which split with Ogilvy & Mather in November, tapped the Project for the work in March. The shop was founded in 1999 by ex-Ammirati Puris Lintas execs Nelson and Steve Gardner and works with clients on a project basis.

Prior work from Ogilvy included a spot that showed a ticking stopwatch and urged viewers to ask their doctors questions found on the site.