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Sunbeam Items to Carry AMA Seal

Marketing: New deal gives doctors group a cut of sales in exchange for letting firm use its name.

August 13, 1997|From Times Wire Services

Sunbeam Corp. and the American Medical Assn. on Tuesday signed a five-year agreement that will allow the company to put the AMA's name on its home-health-care products.

Delray Beach, Fla.-based Sunbeam will also package educational material from the AMA with its products. In addition, Sunbeam and the AMA will create a physicians advisory panel that will assist in the development of new Sunbeam health-care products.

Sunbeam's health-care line includes heating pads, blood pressure monitors, thermometers and vaporizers.

"I expect that this alliance will further enhance our strong competitive position in the marketplace" by strengthening distribution, Sunbeam Chairman Al Dunlap said.

The AMA will be paid a share of sales over the course of the deal, but it was not clear how much.

"When we learn more, we'll let you know," Dr. P. Seward, AMA executive vice president, said at a news conference in Chicago, where he was joined by Dunlap.

The money will pay for the educational material that will accompany the Sunbeam products and for the AMA's other educational efforts.

Product packages will for the first time carry the AMA seal and a proclamation that the two organizations have joined together "to bring you products specially designed for healthier living."

Larry Jellen, AMA's vice president for marketing, downplayed the suggestion that the agreement is merely a product endorsement.

"We're not selling our endorsement like some other health associations," Jellen said.

The AMA has determined that the products do a good job, he said.

Jellen did not say what other associations he had in mind.

Endorsements by health-care groups go back many decades.

The American Dental Assn. has allowed its seal on toothpastes and other products since 1930. Last year, the American Cancer Society gave exclusive endorsements to a brand of anti-smoking patches and to Florida orange juice.

For the last year, the 292,000-member AMA has published a catalog of health products for home use, such as fire extinguishers, water filters and exercise equipment. The products are made by various manufacturers, and the AMA says they were selected for quality and value.

The Sunbeam deal will convey the AMA endorsement to heating pads, blood pressure monitors, thermometers, air cleaners, humidifiers, vaporizers, scales, massagers and hot and cold therapy packs. Their packaging will carry the AMA seal by the end of the year.

"Trade associations sell their seal all the time; the AMA is not the Vatican," said Michael Donio, project coordinator for the People's Medical Society, a health-care advocacy group in Allentown, Pa.

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