HEALTH

Matrixx CEO predicts retailers will stock cough/cold medicines in a timelier manner

BY Michael Johnsen

PHOENIX The purchase of cough and cold items by retailers may more closely correspond with illness rates going forward as opposed to seeing a significant purchase spike just before the cough and cold season in August, Carl Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Matrixx Initiatives, revealed in a press statement Wednesday regarding Matrixx’ most recent quarterly results.

“Over the past couple of years, we have seen our largest retail customers trim the size of their pre-season purchases—which had generally occurred in August and September—and focus on repurchasing inventory as consumption levels increase during the cold season,” he said. “We expect that trend to continue as the consolidation in the industry and growth of several national chains has allowed retailers to manage inventory at tighter levels and replenish store shelves in a timelier manner. We believe this shift in behavior will spread retail orders over the entire cold season compared to the large early inventory buys in previous years, which were sold down throughout the season.”

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Bevology relaunches Zenergize healthy drink tabs

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO Bevology recently relaunched its effervescent Zenergize Vitamin-InfuZed DrinkTabs, now with no sugar added.

“Consumers continue to seek more convenient ways to integrate nutritional food and beverage products into their on-the-go lifestyles without sacrificing product taste or value” stated Brad Barnhorn, chief executive officer of Bevology. “The DrinkTab category gives consumers a perfect solution that goes where they go and, unlike many of the so claimed healthy beverages, it makes a truly healthy beverage that delivers real, meaningful levels of nutrition without the sugar or calories.”

Zenergize DrinkTabs contain zero grams of sugar, two calories and are formulated with vitamins, minerals and herbal nutrients. The line is comprised of seven SKUs specially formulated to address specific need states, including Immunity, Hydrate, Energy+, Burn, Thrive, Empower and Chill.

The suggested retail price for a tube of 10 Vitamin-InfuZed DrinkTabs is $6.99.

The DrinkTabs are designed to be added to bottled water, and as such the ingredients are released at the time of consumption as compared to bottled and canned beverages-plus-vitamins that can travel through the supply chain for months before reaching the consumer.

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Alli launches new health-focused ad campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare on Tuesday announced the launch of a new ad campaign that will capitalize on the popularity of the over-the-counter diet aid. More than 2 million Alli starter packs have been sold through retail, the company noted, and Alli users are enthusiastically embracing Alli and its corresponding weight-loss program.

Already, Alli is the leading diet aid sold through mass retail, claiming 19.2 percent of the total dollar volume with $65 million in sales for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 9 across food, drug and mass (minus Wal-Mart), according to data from Information Resources Inc.

GlaxoSmithKline on Tuesday broke the first in a series of next-generation ads for the weight-loss product that departs from the typical “before-and-after” testimonials and offers an honest look at the healthy diet and lifestyle changes experienced by actual Alli users. “From the very beginning, Alli set out to be an honest voice in the weight-loss category,” stated Steven Burton, GSK Consumer Healthcare vice president of weight control. “These are actual users who talk about everything from initially having questions about Alli to how they now look at weight loss in entirely new ways.”

Alli’s advertising agency, Arnold Worldwide, recruited close to 100 users from the Alli “First Team,” a group of early adopters from across the country who were given access to the product a few months before it hit store shelves. The agency asked for videos of their stories, and ultimately flew seven of the team members to New York to film them.

“It’s really been a lifestyle change for me,” said one Alli user featured in the campaign. “From the moment you take that first capsule, it’s a different way of thinking. Here I am two months later. I’ve lost 15 pounds, and I’m thrilled.” Another user stated, “The support that I’ve received is phenomenal. At first, I didn’t think the program would be easy to manage, but it’s very doable. Alli has convinced me that eating healthy is a way of life.”

Arnold produced seven, two- to three-minute vignettes of the Alli users, some of which will be used to produce :30 television commercials. All seven stories will appear in their entirety on the Alli Web site, where several other stories submitted by Alli users from across the country already reside.

In addition to its retail success, Alli is garnering intense consumer interest and discussion. Approximately 5.4 million unique visitors have logged on to the Alli Web sites, myalli.com and the Spanish-language mialli.com. In addition, more than 200,000 people have enrolled in Alli’s online behavioral support program. Consumers also have posted more than 125,000 messages on the official Alli message boards, and tens of thousands are talking about Alli on blogs and online discussion groups they have formed themselves.

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