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Nielsen, Catalina Marketing announce joint venture

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK One of the world’s largest providers of media and consumer information and analytics announced its joint venture with a global leader in consumer-driven print communications.

The Nielsen Co. and Catalina Marketing Corp. have formed Nielsen Catalina Ventures to create the next generation of precision media solutions and return on investment measurement tools to allow consumer packaged goods and media companies to more effectively link the marketing exposures consumers see with what products they actually buy.

The 50-50% joint venture will integrate information from Nielsen’s industry-leading TV, Internet and household purchase panels, with purchase data from more than 50 million shoppers from a cross-section of retailers in Catalina Marketing’s network.

“As consumers become more sophisticated and media platforms continue to fragment, advertisers must be able to build more precise and measurable media plans,” said David Calhoun, chairman and CEO at Nielsen. “The only way to get there is with faster, deeper information. Nielsen and Catalina’s combined capabilities provide comprehensive, scalable solutions for clients to better shape their marketing investments and measure their campaign ROI with far greater precision, speed and agility. We are pleased to partner with Catalina Marketing in this first step toward a holistic measure of ROI that will redefine accountability in the CPG space.”

Nielsen Catalina Ventures will launch its first precision media solutions in the first half of 2010. Nielsen’s existing television and online precision media businesses, which currently use Nielsen’s Homescan purchase panel to match media consumption with purchase behavior, will be integrated with Catalina Marketing’s shopper data. This will allow analyses for many more brand campaigns than is currently possible. And for the first time ever, the television offering will be based on data from Nielsen’s National People Meter panel, the industry currency, to create solutions for measuring the sales impact of TV advertising campaigns.

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DSE doesn’t monkey around when it comes to social media

BY Michael Johnsen

EDISON, N.J. —It’s a product that’s sure to elicit a chuckle or two just at its mere mention, to be sure—unless you need it, of course. And that’s one reason behind DSE Healthcare Solutions’ decision to enter the social media fray with its Anti Monkey Butt Powder: It’s catchy enough to grab someone’s attention, and those who have need of the product are avid supporters.

Thanks in part to DSE’s social media campaign, monkey butt has become a familiar term for an affliction that affects millions of men and women who perspire a lot and get chafed below the waist, sometimes due to their profession (truck drivers, waiters, chefs, construction workers, etc.) or hobbies (motorcycle riders, cyclists, joggers, etc.).

If you had asked Raymond Abrahamsen, DSE VP new products, even a year ago about Facebook—which is where the face of Anti Monkey Butt’s social media presence lives—he would have given you a quizzical look. Today, Abrahamsen is well versed in Facebook lingo, and credits the Facebook presence for increasing the profile of Anti Monkey Butt.

DSE employs Robin Leedy & Associates, a boutique PR and social media firm specializing in OTC products, to shepherd its social media interaction. For the three months ended in September, DSE garnered more than 28 million impressions, generating more than 14,000 Facebook fans. To date, DSE has launched two viral videos through Facebook that have generated more than 140,000 views.

And Facebook isn’t just for teenagers and college students, Abrahamsen noted. Approximately 63% of fans fall between the ages of 25 and 44 years old, with some 33% falling between 35 and 44 years old, covering DSE’s demographic sweet spot for the product.

Creating the right content and the right message were key to the Anti Monkey Butt Powder success story. “The right mix of entertaining content, the growth of Facebook for the 30-plus demographic and a really fun product has made for a huge [Anti Monkey Butt] success in social media,” said Christian Brucculeri, social media director at RL&A. “We’ve created a brand affinity with the core audience that, I believe, will pay significant dividends long into the future for this brand.”

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Costco takes another bite of the Big Apple with new Manhattan unit

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK —Costco opened its first store in Manhattan on Nov. 12, in Spanish Harlem. Though the store is the fourth in New York City—following stores in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island—Costco had to make a lot of changes to fit the store into such a tightly packed area.

“It’s a challenge relative to the size,” Costco CEO Jim Sinegal told Drug Store News. “We had to crowd a lot in and configure it differently.”

The store has many of the products and departments familiar to Costco shoppers, including a pharmacy, but it had to forgo products that would not suit most New Yorkers, such as patio furniture and giant bags of pet food.

“We’ve probably come down a little bit on the bulk items,” EVP and CFO Richard Galanti told Drug Store News. “With that exception, we’re trying to offer the full breadth and depth of what we typically offer.”

In terms of the pharmacy, the store’s location has led it to serve the neighborhood’s many Spanish-speaking inhabitants. “One of the things we do is have plenty of Spanish-speaking employees,” regional pharmacy manager for the Northeast Tom Drougas said. “That’s always a plus.”

As required by law, the pharmacy also has Language Line, a service that allows speakers of numerous languages to receive translation services from trained staff over the telephone. Customers also can consult with staff through the pharmacy’s patient consultation window or in the private consultation room, which includes a DVD player allowing patients to watch videos about disease states.

Despite the slightly smaller size, the store mostly is the same as others in the chain, including in terms of prices. “I think that’s a novelty for Manhattan, right there,” Sinegal said.

According to published reports, Costco plans to open another store in Queens next year.

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