Bayer works to connect brand to products with all-American TV ad

Farmers, flags, families and pharmacies are the stars of Bayer’s new all-American corporate TV ad. The new campaign looks to connect Bayer's already well-known parent brand to its broad portfolio of products, from pharmaceutical and consumer health to agriculture and animal health.

“Folks know Bayer. They know the name, it’s a trusted brand … But oftentimes, unless you’re in a specific area of the country or industry, you don’t know the full totality of what it is that we do and how we do it,” Raymond F. Kerins Jr., senior vice president of corporate affairs at Bayer, said. “It’s part of an ongoing strategy that we have, which is to help Americans understand why it is you trust us and how often we are touching your lives.”

The TV ad, running mainly on CNN and Fox in order to reach as wide an American audience as possible, he said, is the latest in a Bayer corporate effort now going into its fifth year to connect the umbrella brand equity to the branded products.

Kerins has seen that gap as he travels the United States talking to people who instantly identify with Bayer aspirin, but are surprised when he ticks off other well-known consumer health products such as Flintstones, Coppertone, Aleve, Dr. Scholl’s and Alka Seltzer as Bayer brands. The TV doesn’t show any specific products, but instead more general scenes such as two farmers meeting in a crop field, a family camping with their dog, and a mom picking up medicine from a shelf. The ad talks about Bayer’s roots and long history and ends with the line, “So from all of us at Bayer, thank you for trusting in us—then and now.”

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Bayer’s more than $60 billion merger with agriculture giant Monsanto was approved by the Justice Department in May and closed in June with the retirement of the Monsanto name. When asked about the timing, Kerins acknowledged that the company is entering a new stage in its 150-year history, but said the new campaign is not related to the Monsanto acquisition.

“The company has been in and around agriculture for many decades now, so the answer to your question is a flat-out no,” he said. “The goal here is truly to try and make sure we are showing the full breadth of the portfolio.”

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The TV ad began running July 3, but radio is also underway and a full multimedia campaign with print, digital and social components will be built out. While Kerins didn’t disclose exact spending, he did say the new effort is Bayer’s biggest corporate push in the past five years. Ad agency M in Philadelphia created the campaign.