Arbitron Polishes Apollo Deal, SC Johnson Waxes On

In a surprise disclosure, Arbitron Thursday said household products marketer SC Johnson has signed on as the second sponsor of Project Apollo, the ambitious single-source measurement field test Arbitron and partner VNU will launch late this year.

The move is surprising, because SC Johnson is known as a bargain media buyer, but many blue chip marketers have been chafing over the costs of sponsoring Apollo, which has been scaled back from a full-blown rollout to a seven-month test in an effort to prove its value and garner support.

Procter & Gamble has been a strong supporter of the effort, which would simultaneously measure media exposure and product purchases from a large, single panel of consumer households. Arbitron also said Apollo is close to signing contracts with several other sponsors, and an announcement of charter sponsorships is expected in the next two weeks.

The SC Johnson announcement, which was made during Arbitron's third-quarter earnings conference call, comes as partner VNU has quietly begun pitching its own, cheaper alternative to the ambitious Apollo project: a new product that fuses product purchase panel data from ACNielsen, with TV ratings from Nielsen Media Research (MDN October 20).



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