Activation Gallery: OTC Drugs

Throughout the year, and especially during the winter cold and flu season, displays promoting and stocking over-the-counter (or non-prescription drugs) are prevalent in mass, drug, club and grocery stores. While retailers frequently merchandise multiple and various products and brands together on themed floorstands and endcaps, many brands get individual attention with displays of their own. Path to Purchase Institute editors have singled out the following displays that have caught their attention in recent months. Institute members can see more than 7,000 images of OTC activations in the image vault at

  • Johnson & Johnson brought its national “Start Healthy” purchase incentive to Walgreens and Albertsons Cos. chains including Jewel-Osco to kick off the New Year. Shoppers who purchased $30 worth of participating J&J products in one transaction from Dec. 29, 2019, through Feb. 1 earned a $10 Visa Rewards gift card, redeemable by submitting their receipt on a Fandango promotional site.


  • RB’s Mucinex secured an endcap at Walmart with shelf trays stocking its Nightshift syrup under a “Goodnight zombie. Good morning human” message. The PDQs carried both “cold & flu” and “sinus” formulas.
  • Procter & Gamble’s Vicks deployed a shelf sign in CVS Pharmacy’s OTC aisle that assists sick shoppers who are “not sure what to take” for a particular symptom. Positioned right next to multiple Vicks SKUs on the shelf, the sign invited shoppers to text “VICKS” to a dedicated number that would lead them to an online quiz that determines appropriate Vicks SKUs to treat the symptoms they’re experiencing. Some CVS stores promoted the quiz on the header of a multibrand “Cold & Flu Center” endcap.
  • Target exclusively stocked a limited-edition SKU from GlaxoSmithKline’s Tums during the holiday season. The items enjoyed secondary merchandising space on shelf trays positioned on endcaps in the health care department.
  • Pfizer’s Advil tied into football season at Walmart with the brand’s own gravity-fed shelf trays carrying a “Game On, Pain Off” message.
  • GSK’s Tums leveraged the football season at Walmart with “Tackle Heartburn Fast” shelf trays positioned on a dedicated endcap.
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club spotlighted select OTC and health SKUs as well as personal care brands for its routine “That’s the Beauty of Bulk” program. Pfizer’s Advil was among participating brands, identifiable by an account-specific “unbeatable strength + speed” pallet partially depicting BJ’s bulk-purchase program and a “Welcome to the year of you” message.
  • Nature’s Bounty deployed aisle violators in Walmart’s pharmacy department with an incentive for the new year: a $10 digital reward with purchase of $30 worth of Pure Protein, Body Fortress, MET-RX and other brands in one transaction throughout January.
  • Nature’s Bounty and Pharmavite’s Nature Made are key players as part of an in-line section at Walgreens dedicated to vitamins and supplements. The displays trumpet Walgreens’ ongoing BOGO offers on the items.
  • 7-Eleven recently marketed OTC medications under a new own brand, 24/7 Life by 7-Eleven, with a dedicated floorstand. The convenience chain launched a line of electronic accessories and rebranded various other SKUs under 24/7 Life by 7-Eleven as the retailer continues to grow and elevate its private-label assortment. Many of the products were previously sold as part of store brand 7-Select.
  • Brandable’s Grow Girl commands a bright pink sidekick at Walmart for its hair growth supplements. The merchandiser also invites shoppers to “check out our full line up” including hair shine supplements as well as hair regrowth conditioner, scalp detox and treatment.
  • Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol and Mondelez International’s Halls united to roll out an account-specific power wing at Family Dollar, touting the combined power (or “punch”) of both SKUs against the common cold.