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Sanatogen scores PR coup with one-off Blair birthday ad

LONDON - Sanatogen has scored a coup with a one-off advertisement featuring Tony Blair on the occasion of his 50th birthday, after the Prime Minister referred to the ad in a meeting with newspaper executives.

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The ad was created for Sanatogen Vital 50+ by Bates UK and appeared as a one-off ad yesterday in the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Daily Telegraph and the Times.

It showed Tony Blair playing football in a shirt and tie, and the copy read: "Looking good at 50. Happy 50th birthday (any chance of a place in the cabinet?)".

It finishes with the line "Multivitamins especially formulated for the over 50s".

However, the ad scored widespread publicity after Blair mentioned the ad in a speech he gave to regional newspaper executives. He said: "I wasn't looking forward to reaching 50 and this gloom was before I opened today's newspapers and found I was used -- without my permission -- to advertise Sanatogen."

The quote has since been repeated in newspapers including The Independent and the Financial Times, and was shown on news bulletins including Channel 4 News, which ran a feature on Blair's 50th birthday celebrations.

Charlie Charnock, brand leader for Sanatogen, said: "The aim of the ad was to create 'a bit of noise' for Sanatogen Vital 50+ by linking the brand to Tony Blair's 50th birthday.

"It's people like him -- success stories of the baby boom generation -- who, upon reaching 50, help redefine the younger generation's view of the over-50s to something more positive and aspirational."

The ad was created by Giles Horton and Matt Head at Bates UK, and media for the campaign was by MediaCom.

Sanatogen is a vitamin brand owned by Roche, which consolidated all its advertising into Bates UK after the closure of Publicis Groupe-owned agency D'Arcy.

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