Direct to Consumer: Hit 'Em Where It Helps - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Direct to Consumer: Hit 'Em Where It Helps
In-Store Promotions Capture Brand Interest


Pharmaceutical Executive



Raising the Bar In-store promotions yield an average script lift of nearly 10 percent across a wide range of therapeutic categories.
Rx EDGE recently developed an in-store campaign for the seventh major statin on the market, to reinforce the brand's popular advertising campaign and grow prescription volume in a mature and crowded therapeutic category. The program featured dispensers with detailed pull-out product information extending from the store shelves of more than 18,000 pharmacies. A panel on top of each display highlighted the product's key differentiation message about attacking two sources of cholesterol. It also showed an expressive and highly recognizable face from the campaign's TV ads, as the brand team predicted those images would make effective attention-grabbers.

The location of in-store displays can be just as important as how they look. For some therapeutic categories, such as prescription pain relievers and allergy medications, it makes perfect sense to set up the display near the product's OTC counterparts. But because there are no such counterparts for cholesterol-lowering medications, the brand team had to choose an area near other products that were likely to be used by those at risk for cardiovascular disease (those people are likely to monitor their cholesterol levels carefully). The team decided on the analgesic aisle—not only because it is the busiest place in the pharmacy, but also because customers concerned about preventing heart attacks are also likely to take low daily doses of aspirin. In-store displays for an earlier statin campaign were placed with the blood-glucose testing supplies for diabetes monitoring, based on the high comorbidity rates between diabetes and high cholesterol.

Proven ROI

How well did the statin's in-store campaign work? After two months on the market, product sales doubled, and follow-up research showed that the in-store displays added six to eight percent of sales growth above that plateau, making the in-store component's return-on-investment ratio a whopping 5:1. In-store displays also generated some 300 million consumer impressions during the monitoring period and an average of two new prescriptions per store, per week.

For another brand in a different therapeutic category, the same company faced the dual challenge of introducing a new product while educating consumers about the benign but bothersome condition it treats—severe dry eye caused by the body's impaired ability to produce tears. The DTC campaign had to overcome a widely held belief that the disease could not be treated successfully, and convince the public to stop self-treating with OTC eye drops. For the product to succeed, consumers had to recognize that they had the disease and should see a doctor about it.

Television and print advertising campaigns, designed to build awareness of severe dry eye and introduce the new prescription product, featured an actress with the disorder talking about how her body's inability to produce sufficient tears hampered her quality of life. The supporting in-store campaign targeted pharmacies in 571 markets—including national drug-store chains, such as CVS and Albertsons, and powerhouse local players, like Duane Reade in New York City and Long's in California.

The in-store displays featured pull-out educational information about the disease, and messages advising consumers to talk with their pharmacist or doctor about the new treatment. The in-store program also brought the TV campaign to the eye-care products aisle to catch the attention of those with severe dry eye and remind them that there is an alternative to using OTC eye drops indefinitely.

By the end of the campaign, in early 2005, the numbers showed that it had achieved its mission: A significant number of consumers had become aware that persistent red eye is a medical problem that needs medication, and the in-store program helped those afflicted with the condition to identify their symptoms and decide to consult with a doctor about treatment.


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