Merck moves respiratory to Area 23

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Merck consolidated the advertising and promotion business on its respiratory franchise to Interpublic, with Draftfcb Healthcare's Area 23 serving as lead agency.

The assignment, including such blockbuster brands as Singulair, Nasonex and newly launched Dulera, spans healthcare professional and consumer advertising, medical education and managed care for asthma, allergy and COPD brands. It was previously split between several agencies: Juice handled Singulair, having relieved Draftfcb of the business in 1998; DDB handled Nasonex; and CDM Prince­ton handled Dulera (Zenhale, ex-US), which launched for asthma last year and is now pur­suing a COPD indication. The account also includes Merck's investigational oral allergy immunotherapy tablet, now in phase 3 clinical trials, which was previously handled by LLNS.

Draftfcb handles the advertising business on Merck's cardiovascular and metabolic franchise, including Januvia.

“Merck has been a long-standing client,” said Dana Maiman, CEO of Draftfcb Healthcare. “As a matter of fact, it was our first client more than 30 years ago and we are honored to deepen our incredibly successful partnership with them.”

In fact, both Area 23 co-managing directors—EVP Renee Mellas and creative director Tim Hawkey—are old Draftfcb hands who came up in the business working on Merck brands like Zocor and Fosamax. The full-service spinoff shop launched in 2007.

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