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BioNTech-Pfizer’s COVID Booster Campaign Tops Radio Spot Count.

In a first, pharma giant BioNTech-Pfizer is radio’s top advertiser for the week of Dec. 6-12. The company aired 75,573 spots for its COVID booster campaign, more than double the 36,743 run in the prior week when it ranked No. 5.

The flight of :30’s and :15’s carried a simple message: Please get vaccinated. Here’s the copy from one of the spots: “Home team, visiting team, your fantasy team. No matter who you root for, we’re all on the same team when it comes to COVID-19. BioNTech (BY-on-tek) and Pfizer (FY-zer) remind you to please consider getting vaccinated.”

While it is a first for BioNTech-Pfizer, it is not the first time a Big Pharma brand has topped the spot count tally. Bristol-Myers Squibb-Pfizer was radio’s top advertiser one year ago for the week of Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2020. Now it clocks in at No. 19 with 23,493 airings on the latest tally.

It’s part of a trend of Big Pharma making radio a more significant part of their ad budgets, after years of under-using broadcast radio. Other prescription medications on the air in the most recent reporting week at Pfizer’s Ibrance at No. 22 with 21,2768 detections, Janssen Biotech’s Tremfya at No. 27 with 18,699 and Pfizer’s Eucrisa at No. 64 with 11,242.

This is in addition to spending on over-the-counter medications from Procter & Gamble and other consumer packaged goods companies that have grown into major radio users during the last few years. In the latest tally, P&G’s over-the-counter Vicks cold medicine is No. 8 with 32, 940 spots.

In addition, the Centers For Disease Control upped its radio allocation to 35,798 to rank No. 7, up from No. 11 the week before.

Pharma advertisers aren’t the only ones turning up the volume at radio. As Americans look to check off more items from their holiday shopping list, retailers continue to lean into the medium. Among department stores, Macy’s leads at No. 10 with 29,472 spots, followed by Kohl’s at No. 15 (26,451), and JC Penney at No. 20 (22,866). Home improvement retailers continue to plug holiday sales with The Home Depot springing back into the top 10 with 30,148 spot airings, up from No. 33 the week prior. Lowe’s is close behind at No. 12 with 28,619 spots. Elsewhere in the home improvement category it’s Ashley HomeStore at No. 78 with 8,530 spots, and Menard's at No. 86 (7,173).

But the top retail advertiser at radio heading into mid-December doesn’t have any brick and mortar stores to drive consumers to. Instead it is online retailer eBay that ran more radio spots in the latest report than any retail account. The San Jose-based ecommerce company aired 43,943 spots to rank as radio’s No. 5 advertiser based on spot volume, according to Media Monitors which tracks national advertising in 110 markets.

Among apparel retailers there are Famous Footwear at No. 44 with 15,062, Old Navy at No. 74 with 9,183 spot occurrences, Boot Barn at No. 82 (7,955), casual men's apparel company UNTUCKit at No. 85 (7,211) and The Good Feet Store (6,559).

For the week of Dec. 6-12, 2021, the top ten on the Media Monitors tally are BioNTech-Pfizer at 1, Indeed at 2, iHeartRadio at 3, State Farm at 4, eBay at 5, McDonald’s at 6, Centers For Disease Control & Prevention at 7, Vicks at 8, the Home Depot at 9 and Macy’s at 10.

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