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,
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
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
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.