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Healthcare, Retail Categories Dominate Radio’s Top Weekly Advertisers.

Just in time for holiday travel and family get togethers, the flu and the coronavirus are surging across America. So it should come as no surprise that half of the top-ten radio advertisers for the week of Dec. 12-18 are health-related, from prescription medications to government health officials.

Topping the list for the first time is Pfizer’s Paxlovid, a pill used to prevent severe COVID. Pfizer nearly quintupled its ad weight compared to the prior week in a radio blitz of massive proportion. Paxlovid aired 150,472 spots, up from 31,256 the week before, when it was No. 6. To appreciate the size of the campaign, consider that the number of spots placed by the largest radio advertisers during the fourth quarter have ranged from 41,000 to 51,000 in a given week.

Paxlovid has been a consistent radio advertiser since June, when it first used radio to the tune of 13,487 spots to rank No. 42. While the drug is a global phenomenon, U.S. public health officials say that Paxlovid is undersized in the U.S. Those health authorities are also using the AM/FM airwaves to get their message out. Data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there have been at least 13 million illnesses, 120,000 hospitalizations, and 7,300 deaths from flu so far this season. Against that backdrop, the CDC is keeping its radio weight high with 37,730 spots to finish at No. 4 for the week. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services is back in the top ten (17-8) with 31,086 commercial airings. The biggest mover of the week is also in the healthcare vertical – BioNTech-Pfizer (40-9) aired 30,783 spots encouraging Americans to get their COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. Close behind at No.10 is Procter & Gamble’s cold and flu relief medication Vicks with 30,297 spots.

In a week that included Super Saturday, the big department store chains were on the air with Kohl’s (No. 7), JC Penney (No. 12) and Macy’s (No. 25). In fact, seemingly all manner of retailers were on the air, including Lowe’s (No. 13), The Home Depot (No. 15), Mattress Firm (No. 21), eBay (No. 26), Shane Co. jewelers (No. 38), Diamonds Direct (No. 52), Boot Barn (No. 57), Skechers (No. 58), Total Wine & More (No. 70), PajamaGram, (No. 80), JTV Jewelry Television (No. 83), Old Navy (No. 96) and Bed, Bath & Beyond (No. 98).

For the week of Dec. 12-18, 2022, the top ten on the Media Monitors tally are Paxlovid at 1, iHeartRadio at 2, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 3, Centers For Disease Control at 4, Boost Mobile at 5, State Farm at 6, Kohl’s at 7, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services at 8, BioNTech-Pfizer at 9 and Vicks at 10.

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