Major brand putting $8-$10 million into ads in digital screen sector this year

January 26, 2009 by Dave Haynes

Here’s something to warm your hearts on a day, at least here in Montreal (up for JADN tomorrow), that is Slurpee brain-freeze cold.

Major health care and packaged goods brand Schering-Plough is planning a mass campaign in the digital screen sector that is estimated to be worth as much as $10 million.

Reports MediaWeek:

Over a period of eight to 12 weeks, Schering-Plough advertising for several sun care, footcare and upper respiratory brands will run on 17 digital networks in nine venue categories. To target consumers closer to the point of purchase, Schering-Plough chose networks that reach consumers in varied lifestyle locations from health clubs and physicians’ offices to malls, coffee houses, golf courses and airports.

The campaign is a departure for Schering-Plough, which like most packaged goods companies, has relied on traditional media. “Consumer mindsets are very different in this environment and we think it is important to explore a variety of ways to reach our target audience,” said Chris Meringolo, director of global media services and digital marketing for Schering-Plough Consumer HealthCare Products. “Digital out of home offers new touch points for communication, many of which are closer to purchase opportunities.”

Moving at least some of its advertising and marketing closer to the point of purchase makes sense for Schering-Plough. While the overall sales for its consumer healthcare products rose 2 percent in third quarter 2008 on the launch of new constipation product MiraLAX, sales of its other over-the-counter products, such as Claritin, were low. After spending about 84 percent of its media budget on TV (per data from Nielsen Monitor-Plus through November ’08), and at least $2 million for one ad in a first-time Super Bowl spot in ’08, the company may have figured it was time to try a medium that was less costly and more targeted.

Schering-Plough’s willingness to try something new and the growing interest in digital out-of-home from other national advertisers is why Havas’ MPG formed Chrysalis in November as a dedicated unit to focus on “touch point communication planning,” including digital out-of-home, event marketing and other location-based media channels. 

“Traditional media doesn’t have the same power it had before in terms of reach,” said Steve Lanzano, chief operating officer for MPG, whose clients include Volvo, Exxon Mobile, Sears, Kmart, McDonald’s, Pearl Vision, Autozone and Fidelity. “When you’re dealing with ratings of 2, it’s not the mass medium it once was.” 

Now $10 million to mainstream media is perhaps not all that big a budget, but it is a massive number for this still emerging industry and a very nice vote of confidence in the space by a company much more conditioned to taking the traditional ad planning road.

It’s also a very nice moment for the Out-of-home Video Advertising Bureau, which got a bunch of its member networks in front of Schering-Plough and made that hefty membership fee suddenly seem like a bargain for those network operators who are in the media plan.

For Chrysalis, the planning process was a critical component in understanding and advancing the medium. Chrysalis worked with the Out-of-Home Video Advertising Bureau to bring in scores of OVAB-affiliated network companies, which made brief presentations. To narrow down the choices, Chrysalis held another series of meetings with a smaller group of networks, leading to formal requests for proposals in late December. In the last week, Chrysalis selected the networks that made the most sense for Schering-Plough’s brands.

“Most of the vendors of new media never find out how planning and account people think,” said Mitch Oscar, executive vp of televisual applications for MPG, who spearheaded the initial meetings as part of MPG’s regular series of roundtables with different new media segments. 

“This is about moving a medium forward and bringing clarity to the space.”  

Maybe not quite a seismic event for the industry, but a big one. Be assured people who sell ads in this space will be shopping around this story in a big way. Nothing like validation to help prime a pump. 

Leave a comment