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Four Pharma Giants Were Among Radio’s Top 100 Advertisers Last Week.

Looking for incremental reach to flesh out their TV campaigns, major pharmaceutical companies are allocating more dollars to radio. Ad spend for prescription medications on radio jumped 34% to $22.3 million in the first half of 2020, and the latest spot tally from Media Monitors shows some of the players behind this trend.

Biopharma giant Merck ranks at No. 29 with 16,948 spots for the week of Oct. 5-11. AbbVie, which in concert with Ironwood, has been using radio to market irritable bowel syndrome drug Linzess, ranks at No. 37 with 15,153 spots and Pfizer is No. 83 for Eucrisa, a prescription medication that treats eczema. AbbVie, Pfizer and Merck are among the top 10 radio spenders in the pharma category, after neither Pfizer nor Merck made the top 10 in 2019.

Vanda Pharmaceuticals comes in at No. 91 on the new spot tracker list with 5,880 recruitment ads for medical research trials.

Ad spending on prescription and over the counter medications and drug stores in the top 100 radio markets reached $87.8 million for the period from Jan. 1-Sept. 27 2020, up 5% from $83.9 million in the same period one year ago, according to Media Monitors.

Insurance providers, meanwhile, capture 10 positions on the latest chart, including four in the top six: United Healthcare, which climbs 8-3 with 48,038 spots; GEICO at No. 4 with 44,579 occurrences; Progressive at No. 5 with 44,248; and Allstate at No. 6 with 41,631, up from No.11 one week earlier.

With Election Day now just three weeks away, former Vice President Joe Biden continues to make radio a key part of his media mix. Joe Biden For President clocks in at No. 16 with 25,009 spots. Biden has been a regular on the tally since early September, using AM/FM radio to complement his massive National TV presence, where he ranks No. 1 currently with 39,109 spots.

Finally, with gyms reopened in many states, Planet Fitness is back on the air with 6,446 ads to rank at No. 84.

For the week of Oct. 5-1, 2020, the top 10 on Media Monitors’ tally are: The Home Depot at 1, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 2, United Healthcare at 3, GEICO at 4, Progressive at 5, Allstate at 6, Indeed at 7, Lowe’s at 8, Vicks at 9 and iHeartRadio at 10.

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