Novartis Animal Health Taps Colle + McVoy

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Novartis Animal Health US Inc. named Colle + McVoy, Minneapolis, to handle integrated marketing on a $25 million companion animal division account that incorporates heavy doses of direct and interactive marketing.

The account previously was held by the now-defunct Earle Palmer Brown, New York. Bozell, New York, then picked up project work, while public relations was handled first by Weber Shandwick and then Golin Harris.

Colle + McVoy, 90 percent owned by Canadian agency conglomerate Maxxcom, won the consolidated business after initially working on Greensboro, NC-based Novartis Animal Health's direct-to-veterinarians marketing. There was no review.

"They're trying to make Novartis Animal Health the leading supplier in the category of animal health in the U.S.," said Chuck Kushell, CEO of Colle + McVoy, a 68-year-old agency with clients like Cenex, Minnesota Office of Tourism, Honda, Nestle Purina and 3M.

Part of the Swiss-owned Novartis Group, Novartis Animal Health last year reported net income of $4.7 billion on revenue of $20.9 billion. It plans to debut a slew of companion animal brands this year. This includes the direct-to-consumer launch of Deramaxx, a canine pain medication similar to Celebrex and Vioxx2 for humans.

In addition to Deramaxx, Novartis Animal Health asked Colle + McVoy to devise marketing for its line of intestinal parasite, flea and heartworm products. Corporate communication is included.

Services offered by the agency cover strategic consulting, communications and marketing directed to vets and consumers, public relations, direct and interactive marketing, and sales force training and support. Media planned include television, mail, consumer and trade print, loyalty programs, Web sites for information and e-commerce, and trade shows and events.

Marketing on such a vast scale is intended to help Novartis Animal Health face down competition from Pfizer Inc. Deramaxx will go head-to-head with Pfizer's Rimadyl, a leading canine pain relief drug for arthritis symptoms in dogs.

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