Deutsch New York Wins Pfizer's Zoloft DTC Account

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Pharmaceutical firm Pfizer Inc., New York, which recently merged with Warner-Lambert Co., Morris Plains, NJ, has awarded its direct-to-consumer marketing account for the anti-depressant drug Zoloft to Deutsch New York, the national advertising agency's Manhattan unit.

Earlier last year, Deutsch also won an assignment for Pfizer's Zyrtec brand, an anti-allergy medication.

Deutsch New York won the new Zoloft business -- estimated at $50 million annually -- after a competitive review that reportedly included FCB Worldwide, Chicago; Y&R Advertising, New York; and Merkley Newman Harty Healthworks, New York. However, it appears Pfizer's public relations and corporate communications approach for the drug, as well as what it expects Deutsch New York to accomplish, will remain a closely guarded secret for now.

A Pfizer company spokeswoman said, "We will only confirm that we have selected Deutsch -- nothing else, especially at this early point in the process. We can't confirm whether we'll be using direct mail, what kind advertising or anything."

Deutsch New York also declined to comment about the account as well. Drug companies traditionally have been very protective of their competitive turf, particularly when marketing strategies are involved for high-demand, expensive or potentially controversial drugs such as anti-depressants.

Other popular brand name products made by Pfizer include BenGay muscle rub, Unisom sleeping aids and Visine eye drops. Leading Deutsch clients include Ben and Jerry's Homemade, Ikea, Lenscrafters, Dominos Pizza and Microsoft's Expedia.

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