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Campaign Imminent: AstraZeneca taps creative AOR for FluMist brand, announces Alexion acquisition amid ad spend increases (Score 57)
VMLY&R. The agency will spearhead North American consumer and healthcare provider marketing for AZ's flu vaccine, FluMist, and its new autoimmune med that will debut later in 2021. Of course, we will let you know when new work for the brand is released.
Despite this assignment, VMLY&R will not develop work to promote the company's COVID-19 vaccine. It is currently testing this in UK markets and reportedly will likely launch it in the US in April 2021.
In December 2020, AZ also announced that it is merging with Alexion later in 2021. This acquisition will enhance AZ's presence in the immunology market; it will allow AZ to leverage Alexion's innovative complement-tech platforms and strong pipeline.
Relevant recent AZ hires include COVID-19 marketing director Jon Pulaski and executive US infectious diseases (respiratory and immunology) marketing and sales director Andrew Leone; both of these DMs were appointed in November 2020.
According to iSpot, AZ invested in national TV commercials in 2020 for the first time since the end of 2016. These commercials targeted millennial and Gen-X (female skew) viewing programs such as ABC World News Tonight With David Muir, College Football, NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt, The Young and the Restless and CBS Evening News With Norah O'Donnell. AZ's estimated full-year spend ended up reaching $2.6m.
In 2020, Pathmatics reports AZ (this includes its spend for FluMist) earned ~2.3b digital impressions via desktop display (37%), mobile display (26%), desktop video (23%), Twitter (7%), Facebook (4%) and Instagram (2%) ads. The company allocated an estimated $20.1m toward this channel last year, up 2% from the estimated $19.8m it allocated in 2019.
On the other hand, Alexion received ~8.4m digital impressions in 2020, per Pathmatics, via desktop display (62%), Twitter (23%) and mobile display (15%). With this channel, it largely promotes its Solaris medication. Its full 2020 spend tripled to approximately $32.3k from approximately $11k in 2019.
Additionally, per Magellan, the company aired six podcast ads within the past year.
Now, AZ obviously has a wide target demographic. It traditionally targets Gen-X (especially via national TV) and boomers, but its increased digital ad spend and podcast ad usage lead me to believe it's also targeting millennials. Kantar data shows the company also invests in OOH, radio and local broadcast but, at least of Q1-Q3 2020, has stopped utilizing print media.
Agency & martech readers - I suggest reaching out for potential creative work promoting AZ's new coronavirus vaccine; the company's leaders are obviously willing to select AORs for specific vaccines and medications. Otherwise, this creative AOR shift may result in the possibility of media, digital analytics and/or social media management partnerships since reviews so often follow one another. Winmo reports AZ currently also works with social AOR The CDM Group.