HEALTH

New research establishes importance of ‘beacon’ OTC brands

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO Well-established national brands, or “beacon brands,” are crucial in attracting shoppers to a particular set, especially when merchandised as a brand block, according to new research from McNeil Consumer Healthcare presented during the Institute for International Research’s recent Shopper Insights in Action conference.

The objective of McNeil’s research was to learn more about the “shopability” of over-the-counter medicines, and uncover suggestions for better messaging and other communication strategies at the shelf, according to published reports.

 

 

Focusing specifically on the shopability of analgesics, cough-cold and digestives, McNeil found that broad selection and small packaging actually served as an intimidating factor, leaving shoppers overwhelmed and/or confused.

Appropriate category synergies and improved navigational messaging were cited as examples of how to improve the shopability of a particular category, especially considering consumers oftentimes shop intuitively by symptom rather than category, according to the research. The majority of consumers surveyed as part of the research (81%), also suggested more information, both on the packaging and on shelf, would serve to help them better navigate an OTC category.

Many shoppers also suggested that they identified where to shop for a particular condition by seeking out brand-blocked beacon brands, or highly recognizable brands. “We recommend using beacon brands at top of the shelf to draw people in,” Michael Pishvanov, associate director of Shopper Marketing Sales Strategy at McNeil Consumer Healthcare, told attendees at the conference. “So, from 30 ft. away, somebody can look and – even if they can’t speak English – realize what that category is.”

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OTC medicines impact J&J’s earnings guidance

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday updated its earnings guidance for full-year 2010 to $4.65 to $4.75 per share, reflecting the impact of the voluntary recalls announced earlier this year of certain over-the-counter medicines and the suspension of manufacturing at the McNeil Consumer Healthcare facility in Fort Washington, Pa., among other factors.

J&J realized overall sales of $15.3 billion for the second quarter of 2010, an increase of 0.6% as compared to the second quarter of 2009. Over-the-counter and nutritional sales specifically in the United States were down 27.5% to $492 million, the company reported. OTC sales outside of the U.S. totaled $649 million, up 2.9%.

The McNeil recalls and the closure of its Fort Washington, Pa. is expected to result in a $600 million sales impact for 2010, J&J CFO Dominic Caruso told analysts Tuesday morning.

Through a combination of identifying alternative sources of product and shifting production of those OTC medicines once manufactured in Fort Washington to other J&J facilities, Caruso suggested supply would be ramping back up to historical levels toward the end of 2010, beginning of 2011. “Certainly in 2011 we will have alternative sources of supply ready,” he told analysts. Caruso also noted that the quality issues associated with McNeil Consumer in both the Fort Washington and Puerto Rico plants were limited to those facilities.

The product recalls and subsequent Fort Washington closure aren’t the only factors influencing sales of OTC medicines, Caruso noted. Consumers that had migrated to private-label purchases are continuing to buy private label, he said. “Share that private label had been able to obtain during the economic downturn has been ‘sticking’ a little longer than previous economic downturns,” Caruso said.

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Christine Dumas tapped as speaker for CRN annual symposium

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Council for Responsible Nutrition on Tuesday announced consumer, health and lifestyle reporter Christine Dumas is slated to join other top-notch experts as a speaker at The Conference, CRN’s annual symposium for the dietary supplement industry taking place in Austin, Texas, Sept. 29 to Oct. 2.

“If you’ve heard the term ‘social media’ but really want to understand what the term means from a big picture perspective for journalism and specifically for our industry, you’ll want to attend this session,” stated CRN annual conference chair Bill Van Dyke, president, B&D Nutritionals. “Her vast experience as a journalist and in analyzing and understanding consumer trends, makes her a very relevant addition to an already fantastic lineup of speakers for CRN’s annual conference.”

Dumas will discuss media trends in relation to the dietary supplement industry during the popular “Breakfast with…” session on the final day of The Conference.

As a reporter, Dumas’ stories have been featured on “NBC News Today” and “Today: Weekend Edition.” Additionally, Dumas has regularly appeared as a medical correspondent on Fox News Channel’s “Weekend Live” and has been featured on “Oprah” and “The View.”

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