BITTER ADS TO SWALLOW

A WAR OF HEADACHE HEAVYWEIGHTS CONFUSES CONSUMERS AND PAINS THE INDUSTRY

TALK ABOUT SPLITTING HEADACHES. For both consumers and America's $2.7 billion over-the-counter pain-killer industry, the advertising war between Johnson & Johnson's No. 1 brand Tylenol and American Home Products' No. 2 Advil has begun to feel like a migraine.

The pounding began last fall when Johnson & Johnson launched a television attack ad that soon had the two companies decrying the side effects of each other's products. You know, the ones in which a very serious-looking actor "discovers" that Brand X just might possibly be more harmful than, say, swallowing drain cleaner. The confusing charges and countercharges prompted the major TV...

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