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TBWA sets up new division to handle healthcare ad clients

18-April-2001
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TBWA sets up new division to handle healthcare ad clients

TBWA Anthem has set up a special division to handle healthcare advertising clients. Headed by Mr Amar Urhekar, the division, which will function as a separate profit centre, has made a beginning by bagging three clients: Wockhardt brands Supracare and Immumod, Nutricia India and Sanjivani Remedies.

Healthcare advertising, though in its infancy in India, has tremendous potential. The size of the market, inclusive of over-the-counter (OTC), ethical (doctors’ communication), direct-to-consumer and direct communications, is close to Rs 250 crore in billings. There is growing recognition of the potential of this segment and several other agencies like Ogilvy & Mather, FCB Ulka, MAA Bozell and Euro RSCG have also set up separate healthcare advertising divisions.

With India entering the World Trade Organisation (WTO) regime, multinational companies (MNCs) and Indian pharmaceutical companies are expected to demand higher standards of communication from professional advertising and marketing agencies. More and more product categories would also seek to talk directly to the consumer.

According to Mr Kurien Mathews, regional director, West, TBWA Anthem, '‘If on a scale of 1 to 10, the communication to consumer is at present at 1, at its extreme modest level it should reach at least 4 over a period of time. Post-General Agreement on Trade and Tariff (GATT) and insurance sector privatisation, the effort to reach out to the consumer will be more forceful. In fact, healthcare advertising should touch around Rs 1,000 crore by 2006/7.’’

The advertising to sales ratios also need a severe correction from the current 7-8 per cent to at least 14-15 per cent. At present, a major portion of the adspend goes to sampling rather than communication. With more molecules likely to be relaxed from the clutches of the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) and technically allowed to be advertised and communicated to the end-consumer directly without the traditional doctor media, this would mean an extensive use of mass media and so increased advertising to sales ratio, says Mr Mathews.

The division will also give TBWA Anthem the opportunity to increase revenues and showcase the creative talent of the agency. The agency expects the healthcare division to contribute 2 per cent to the overall revenues in the first year, 5 in the second and up to 15 per cent by the third year. It hopes to capture 2 per cent of the market in the first year and 5 per cent by the second year.

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