HEALTH

Vestcom announces continued expansion of Healthy Aisles in-store marketing

BY Michael Johnsen

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. Vestcom International, a provider of customized shelf-edge marketing solutions to retailers and brand manufacturers, on Wednesday announced the continued expansion of its successful health and wellness in-store marketing program, Healthy Aisles.

Vestcom’s program gives retailers the opportunity to add value to the shopping experience by providing quick and simple health and nutritional information that can be delivered via customized shelf labels, in-store kiosks, customer newsletters, circular and promotional advertising, Web-based applications, aisle experts and more.

“Expanding our Healthy Aisles program marks another step forward in our commitment to providing retailers with integrated shelf-edge marketing solutions that make healthy products easily identifiable for shoppers with specific dietary needs, or those wanting a healthier diet,” stated John Lawlor, EVP and chief communications officer of Vestcom. “Healthy Aisles makes it easy to connect shoppers to the information and expertise they need to make the choices they’re looking for quickly and accurately.”

As part of its expansion, Vestcom is working with Boston-based Joslin Diabetes Center to provide expanded data-driven health and wellness information on its shelf labels for select programs.

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McNeil warms Chicago commuters with Tylenol campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO McNeil Consumer Healthcare has shifted gears in its on-the-street promotion of Tylenol Warming Liquids by heating 10 bus shelters in downtown Chicago. The shelters will be heated through March 8, McNeil stated.

“Experiential marketing, such as heated bus shelters, has become an increasingly popular means of connecting with consumers and providing them with a relevant sensation instead of just a message,” McNeil stated in a press release Monday. “In addition to the heated bus shelters, Tylenol Warming Liquids advertisements at 10 other locations in Chicago will feature heated panels.”

Earlier this winter, McNeil staged Tylenol Warming Liquids taxis in front of select CVS/pharmacy locations in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington. As part of that promotion, taxi services within city limits were offered free of charge.

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Matrixx Initiatives reports this year’s cough/cold/flu season is tracking lower than last year’s

BY Michael Johnsen

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. This year’s cough/cold/flu season is tracking below even last year’s historically low levels, Matrixx Iniatives reported Monday, though retailers may be in a better position across their respective supply chains this year compared with last.

“For the 12 weeks ended Dec. 28, retail unit sales (three-outlet syndicated scanner data, not including Walmart or club stores) of Zicam products decreased approximately 3%, while the total cough/cold category declined approximately 1% compared to last year,” stated Bill Hemelt, acting president and COO, Matrixx. “While we are disappointed with the slow start to the season, we believe that, unlike last year, certain retailers did not enter the season in an over-stock position and are managing their buying to match increasing retail sales,” he said.

“We anticipate continued sales growth for our proprietary swab delivery products and have moved forward with building a second swab manufacturing machine to come on line in early fall 2009 to meet increasing consumer demand for our swab products,” Hemelt added.

For the third quarter ended Dec. 31, Matrixx reported a revenue increase of 26% to $38.7 million. “The 26% increase in fiscal third-quarter sales was driven by higher sales of Cold Remedy swabs and our new Allergy swab product, price increases implemented prior to the start of the current cold season and lower product return charges incurred compared with last year,” Hemelt said.

“As discussed previously, we had planned our marketing program to better coincide with the incidence of colds, and shifted approximately $3 million in spending from the third quarter to the fourth quarter,” Hemelt added. “The reduced marketing spending in the third quarter was the principal reason operating expense decreased as compared with last year.”

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