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Carmex plants one on consumers by offering choice of media outlet

BY DSN STAFF

MILWAUKEE —Carma Labs is one of those family-owned-and-operated companies in which the president Paul Woelbing answers his own phone and his own e-mails—even when consumers are at the other end of that phone line or e-mail.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Carma Labs is one of the pioneer companies operating within social media, especially given the rabidness of its fans—fans who simply wouldn’t put any lip balm product other than Carmex to their lips.

Carma Labs went viral with its social media campaign in November 2008 when, in conjunction with a Web site relaunch, the company introduced the My Carmex Kiss campaign, an initiative where fans could place animated lips on their own photos and send their individualized Carmex Kiss to friends and family through e-mail.

At the start of the campaign, Carmex had a database of 3,000 e-mail subscribers. By Valentine’s Day 2009, Carmex e-mail subscribers numbered more than 30,000. The key, according to Woelbing in a white paper published by Bolin Marketing, is versatility. Let the user choose the social media venue.

“We want visitors to share the experience with their friends, but we don’t want to force them to use a channel they are uncomfortable with,” Woelbing said. “By offering visitors choices, we are learning a lot about the dynamics of integrating e-mail, social media and text messaging—namely that they complement each other very well.”

Carmex also launched its Facebook fan page around that time, and it now boasts more than 4,500 dedicated fans, many of whom share their personal testimonials. “I’ve just received my first Carmex lip balm and fell in love with it!!!” Marta wrote in late November. “I bought the sticks in bulk and [placed] one in every jean pocket I own, so I never lose one,” Paloma said in another post. Or this plug: “Every time I’m in Walgreens, I pick up another jar. It makes me feel prosperous to have one at hand in every room :),” from Byron.

Earlier this fall, Carma Labs updated its viral campaign to correspond with the upcoming Halloween holiday. Visitors to www.mycarmexkiss.com were able to send friends a virtual Carmex “kiss of death,” an animated set of vampire lips superimposed on a photograph and sent via e-mail with a special message.

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Hy-Vee names new president

BY Alaric DeArment

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa A 28-year employee of Hy-Vee has become its new president, according to published reports.

The company appointed Randall Edeker as president of the supermarket chain Thursday at the company’s annual meeting, succeeding Ric Jurgens, who had served as president since 2001 and will maintain his position as chairman and CEO.

Edeker had previously served as EVP and COO.

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Tricare expands vaccination coverage to pharmacies, clinics

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK Convenience and value. That’s what community pharmacy and their retail clinic partners deliver to their patients. And that’s what the Department of Defense is counting on in covering immunizations at local pharmacies and identifying convenient care clinics as network providers — two separate pieces of news issued within the past month that really underscore the importance of pharmacies and retail clinics in the delivery of health care today.

Prior to these announcements, military personnel interested in getting their flu shots had to schedule an appointment with their doctor, as Tricare only covered the cost of shots delivered in a doctor’s office.

“As a convenient and accessible healthcare provider, pharmacy is uniquely positioned to offer services for patients, such as vaccinations,” stated Steve Anderson, president and CEO for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Anderson noted that as of earlier this year, pharmacists have the ability to immunize patients in all 50 states. “[This] presents an important opportunity for pharmacists to counsel patients during their visit, and an additional healthcare provider from which to obtain these vaccinations.”

It’s also quite a bit of opportunity for pharmacy — Tricare provides healthcare coverage for 9.5 million eligible beneficiaries. Those beneficiaries pick up almost 2.3 million prescriptions every week, and 1.2 million of those at retail pharmacies, according to Tricare .

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