Edelman wins three-way race for Xenical account

NEW YORK: Edelman won the Xenical derby last week, beating out Ogilvy and Manning Selvage & Lee for the coveted multimillion-dollar account for Hoffman-La Roche’s anti-obesity treatment.

NEW YORK: Edelman won the Xenical derby last week, beating out Ogilvy and Manning Selvage & Lee for the coveted multimillion-dollar account for Hoffman-La Roche’s anti-obesity treatment.

NEW YORK: Edelman won the Xenical derby last week, beating out

Ogilvy and Manning Selvage & Lee for the coveted multimillion-dollar

account for Hoffman-La Roche’s anti-obesity treatment.



Industry insiders expected Edelman to win the business, owing primarily

to its poaching of Helene Paseornek from Stratis KPR, which held the

account until the agency was dismissed by Roche in December (PRWeek,

January 17).



Nancy Turett, newly appointed president of Edelman Health North America,

was quick to dispel the rumor that the firm won the business simply due

to Paseornek’s presence. ’(Helene) will not be involved in the Xenical

account,’ Turett said. And while Edelman has hired away several other

Stratis staffers, Turett emphasized that ’none of them are working on

Xenical.’



Terry Hurley, Roche’s public affairs director for Xenical, declined to

discuss his company’s choice of Edelman, responding to questions with a

faxed statement reading ’all three agencies were excellent.’



Turett said that Edelman is throwing substantial weight behind the

Xenical business, putting Lisa Sepulveda (GM, consumer health practice)

and Therese Caruso (VP, special nutrition and wellness communications)

at the helm of a large, multidisciplinary team. Also contributing to the

account will be the agency’s global creative director, Mitch Markson,

and specialists ranging from consumer health execs and public educators

to scientific communicators and a registered dietician.



Hurley said that Roche’s PR goals are ’to establish Xenical as the

cornerstone of obesity treatment’ and ’to improve cardiovascular and

metabolic health.’ Turett said that the key message to physicians and

consumers will be that obesity is a serious disease which can be treated

medically.



Xenical’s sales have been very strong (more than 96,000 prescriptions

during its first month on the US market), negating the need for a major

awareness push. Roche’s marketers have met up with difficulty, however,

in explaining away Xenical’s embarrassing side effects, such as

flatulence with discharge and general gastronomic distress.



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