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Healthy returns

With three quarters of adults taking over-the-counter remedies to treat a cold or flu, the sector is in rude health

Dec 9 2008 By Gillian Hamill

At a glance: OTC Meds 

  • A survey of 1,000 adults commissioned by Quinn Health (Oct 2008) found:
  •     • Three quarters of adults take over-the-counter medicine to treat a cold or flu
  •     • Two thirds of all adults get one to two colds a year
  •     • Only one in five adults visits their doctor to treat a cold or flu
  •     • Only one in five adults takes time off work if suffering from a cold or flu   
  •     • Two in five adults take vitamins to try to avoid colds and flus
  • Rennie is the number one antacid brand in grocery (AC Nielsen Sept 2008)
  • Berocca is the number one brand in the vitamin category, with 41% MAT of the adult multivitamin category and its latest November share up to 47%
  • Berocca Performance has increased its share from 21% to 35% on the calendar year to date versus last year
  • Berocca Boost has MAT growth in November stands of +37%
  • Calpol dominates the children’s analgesic market with an 82% market share (combined IMS health and AC Nielsen data)
  • Benylin is Ireland’s number one cough brand, with the widest range of cough and cold products for  adults and children in Ireland
  • Lemsip is the number one cold and flu hot drink remedy in grocery commanding 78% share (AC Nielsen 8 WE 02 Nov 2008)
  • Strepsils is the fastest growing sore throat remedy in grocery, with 35% market share (AC Nielsen 8 WE 02 Nov 2008)

A recent report by Mintel on ‘Minor Ailment Remedies’(August 2008), states that “market growth has remained strong, propelled by consumers’ increasing tendency to self-diagnose and the rising accessibility of products.” Grocery multiples and the internet are also stealing market share from chemists,” the report states.

The growth of self-diagnosis is confirmed by a recent Millward Brown survey commissioned by Quinn Health, which found people with a cold or flu are more likely to take an OTC remedy than visit their doctor. The private health insurer’s survey of 1,000 adults showed that whereas three quarters of those surveyed take OTC medicine if they have a cold or flu, only one in five adults visits their doctor to treat these complaints.

Worked off their feet  

Social pressure among employees to reduce their sick leave also benefits the OTC sector. A Mintel report on OTC Healthcare in Ireland (August 2007) found that when suffering from a cold, “workers increasingly take shorter periods to recover and this often results in a prolonged cough or cold, which would be easily avoided with longer sick leave.”  

Mintel reports that this trend will benefit cough and cold remedies and analgesics, as many consumers feel that these products are the most adequate way to continue working while sick. Likewise, in vitamins and dietary supplements, the sale of echinacea or combination products containing vitamin C has benefited from this changing social trend. The Quinn Health survey, published in October 2008, again found a reluctance among employees to take time off work. While it found that two-thirds of all adults get one to two colds a year, only one in five actually takes time off work if they are sick.

Along with Irish employees taking less time off work, Mintel also found that due to longer working hours, a significant shift has occurred in OTC sales, from pharmacies to supermarkets. Time-pressed employees are increasingly electing to do all their shopping in one place. However, Mintel also reported that the momentum behind this trend was beginning to slow, and expected it would be neutralised by the end of the forecast period in 2011.

Video killed the flu bug

Another important point to note about the Irish OTC market is that consumers are significantly influenced by television advertising. Mintel reports that the OTC products that are most heavily advertised on television are the products that consumers prefer to purchase. Highlighting this assertion is the fact that many Irish households watch television stations broadcast from the UK, and thus that show adverts targeted at the British demographic.

Irish consumers seeing these adverts often seek OTC products in pharmacies that are not available in Ireland. This is attested by pharmacists, confirming the effectiveness of the medium in messaging Irish consumers about OTC meds.

Dissolving festive after-effects

Rennie Peppermint relieves heartburn and indigestion, with a fresh mint flavour

Rennie Peppermint relieves heartburn and indigestion, with a fresh mint flavour

Alka-Seltzer delivers fast relief of heartburn, acid indigestion and upset stomachs; particularly important for consumers after festive celebrations. Alka-Seltzer gently breaks up and dissolves away the full feeling of indigestion and pain fast, while its effervescent action extinguishes heartburn also.   

Also helping to calm the post-Christmas burn, Rennie is the number one antacid brand in grocery (AC Nielsen Sept 2008). The Rennie range offers fast, effective relief from indigestion, heartburn, bloating and flatulence. Rennie comes in a wide range of formats and flavours so consumers can choose the remedy that suits them best. And because they’re easy to carry around, consumers can always have a Rennie remedy to hand whenever heartburn, indigestion or trapped wind strikes.

Boosted performance

Berocca launched a new line extension to the range Berocca Boost, in August this year. After a heavyweight launch campaign of TV, outdoor, PR and sampling, Berocca Boost has seen strong sales success. When the brand was sampled, it was found that consumers enjoyed the taste of Berocca Boost and reported that the product gives them a real energy boost during their busy day.

The launch of Boost has also delivered excellent share gains, with the Berocca MAT now standing at 41% of the adult multivitamin category and its latest November share up to 47%, consolidating Berocca’s position as the clear number one brand in the vitamin category. Berocca Performance is also trading strongly with its share increasing from 21% to 35% on the calendar year to date versus last year.

Berocca Boost has grown the total vitamin market and the MAT growth in November stands at +37% so Berocca Boost has  subsequently brought in a lot of new consumers to the category (AC Nielsen Nov 2007).  

Children’s first choice rapidly relieves stocks

Calpol Infant Suspension, the first choice for parents, was launched into the grocery sector in 2000. Since its introduction in the grocery market Calpol has dominated the children’s analgesic market and at the moment commands 82% of the market share (combined IMS health and AC Nielsen data). The trusted brand heritage that had been established in the pharmacy trade is one of the key factors that has enabled Calpol to gain such success.

Parents trust Calpol because it provides effective relief from pain and fever. It is recommended because it is gentle on tummies, suitable for use by asthmatics and safe for children from age two months to 12 years.  

Calpol is supported throughout the winter months with TV and trade advertising, public relations activities, educational leaflets and display materials.

Benylin is Ireland’s number one cough brand

Benylin is Ireland’s number one cough brand

Taking a Benylin Day

According to recent TNS research, 86% of Irish managers believe employees would be more productive after taking a rest day to recover from illness. Benylin, which is Ireland’s number one cough brand (Combined IMS & AC Nielsen MAT data) with the widest range of cough and cold products for both adults and children in Ireland, has capitalised on this trend with the launch of

“Take a Benylin Day.” This campaign uses slogans such as “Do everyone a favour, work at getting better” to inform consumers that when they are sick with the flu, it is as important to rest to recover as it is to take a flu remedy.

The campaign which started in November includes TV, radio, consumer and trade press, outdoor press, public relations and a website.

Soothing sore throats

Strepsils is one of the best known sore throat remedies available in grocery. With 35% market share (AC Nielsen 8 WE 02 Nov 2008), Strepsils is the fastest growing brand in the category. Each lozenge contains a combination of two anti-bacterials to help kill the bacteria which can cause sore throats and mouth infections.

The Strepsils brand has a 35% market share

The Strepsils brand has a 35% market share

The Strepsils range available through the grocery channel is Strepsils Honey and Lemon, Strepsils Orange and Vitamin C, Strepsils Original, Strepsils S

trawberry Sugar Free, Strepsils Extra Blackcurrant and more recently, Strepsils Sore Throat & Blocked Nose which not only soothes a sore throat but the vapour action can help to clear a blocked nose. Strepsils will continue to be supported with a very strong TV and radio campaign during the cold and flu season.

Number one for cold and flu

Lemsip is the number one cold and flu hot drink remedy in grocery commanding 78% share

Lemsip is the number one cold and flu hot drink remedy in grocery commanding 78% share

Lemsip is the number one cold and flu hot drink remedy in grocery commanding 78% share (AC Nielsen 8 WE 02 Nov 2008). A tried and trusted brand with a strong heritage in relieving consumers’ cold and flu symptoms, Lemsip Cold & Flu is available in six variants, including Lemsip Max Cold and Flu Hot Lemon and Lemsip Cold & Flu Capsules with Caffeine.

New to the range in 2007 was Lemsip Max Cough & Cold Sachets, the brand’s most complete cold and flu hot remedy. And this season Lemsip introduced another flavour to its max range; Lemsip Max Cold & Flu Blackcurrant, the only max strength blackcurrant flavour hot drink remedy on the market.

The Lemsip range will be supported strongly throughout the season with a multi-media campaign, including a new TV campaign supporting Lemsip’s new five minute claim, as well as outdoor, radio and press. It will also be supported in store with eye-catching POS to highlight its presence in store.

In addition, Lemsip Dry Cough Syrup and Lemsip Chesty Cough Syrup are available in 100ml bottles and will also be supported by a heavy weight radio campaign.

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