DMB&B scoops 5m Roche brief

Roche Consumer Health has dropped WCRS from its 5m Sanatogen vitamins account and re-aligned the UK business into global roster agency DMB&B.

The switch comes just four months after WCRS retained the business following a repitch against DMB&B and Roche’s other roster agency, Bates Dorland.

The move follows the appointment of a new international president for Roche Consumer Health. Former Procter & Gamble executive Richard Laube started at the company’s Swiss head office last month, and will take over from Tony Jamison in the summer. A spokeswoman denies reports that Laube is behind the realignment, saying it is “too soon” for his influence to be felt.

DMB&B managing director Barry Cook says: “Roche has consolidated our position on its roster, which makes us its global agency on the vitamin business. This has extended our relationship into the UK with an established brand.”

The agency already handles Roche’s vitamin brand Supradyn and painkiller Aleve in Western and Eastern Europe and Latin America. Bates handles Redoxon and Rennie.

The Sanatogen range includes Sanatogen Gold Multivitamins and Sanatogen One A Day Classic 50+, as well as smaller-selling products Vegetarian and Teen. It is unclear whether the vitamin-enhanced fruit drink Start Up!, launched with a 6m marketing budget in 1997, will be advertised this year.

Sanatogen has faced stiff competition in recent years from retailers’ own-label vitamin pills, as well as the US brand Centrum. One strategy pursued by WCRS was to move beyond targeting women in Sanatogen’s advertising and place ads in men’s magazines.

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