NEW YORK: Just in time for allergy season, Cohn & Wolfe has been
named US agency of record for the blockbuster drug Allegra, made by
Aventis Pharmaceuticals. The agency has also won Aventis' e-business
Allegra's previous US agency was Porter-Novelli, which will keep the
international business. No one at Aventis could be reached to comment on
the reason for the switch. C&W pitched for the US business against
Burson-Marsteller. Ketchum competed for the e-business side. Each
account is said to be worth about dollars 1 million a year.
Competition in the allergy drug market is fierce. Allegra and
Schering-Plough's Claritin are two of the top players, with sales in
2000 of dollars 1.6 billion and dollars 3 billion respectively.
'It makes it easy that it is highly competitive because reporters want
to hear about it,' said Donna Imperato, CEO of C&W, New York.
Allegra and Claritin are also both fending off health insurers' attempts
to reclassify them as over-the-counter drugs, as they are in other parts
of the world.
As part of its bid for the business, C&W has already devised a campaign
for Allegra to sponsor mountain climber and allergy sufferer Eric
Weihenmayer's quest to be the first blind person to summit Mount
Aventis is also mounting an e-business push that will increase the use
of the Internet for dispensing prescriptions and selling products.