CVS Ties New Product Launch to Arthritis Month

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CVS Ties New Product Launch to Arthritis Month

By Jacqueline Barba - 05/29/2020
CVS circular feature from May 17

CVS Pharmacy is again activating its longstanding partnership with the Arthritis Foundation to mark May as National Arthritis Awareness Month. The drugstore chain this year is also amplifying the annual observance by heavily supporting the launch of GSK’s Voltaren arthritis pain gel, which hit CVS stores and on May 13.

CVS is again sponsoring the Arthritis Foundation's “Let’s Get a Grip on Arthritis” program aimed at debunking myths about the disease. As in recent years, the drugstore chain is pledging $1 to the Arthritis Foundation (up to $300,000) for each participating product purchased from over-the-counter pain relief brands including Bayer's Aleve, Pfizer's Advil, Johnson & Johnson's Tylenol, 3M's Futuro, Performance Health's Biofreeze and Gaia's Gaiam and new Arthritis Foundation partner Voltaren.

Support has included a May 19 Facebook and Twitter update from CVS thanking participating brands for helping it reach its fundraising threshold through the in-store donation program. Digital support within includes display and leaderboard ads. Leaderboard ads and sections of the “Pain & Fever” shop and the general “Shop” page within the site also promote Voltaren along with other pain relief SKUs.

Related print activity spans multiple circular features. One Arthritis Foundation feature in CVS’ May 17 circular dangled $10 in ExtraBucks Rewards with purchase of $30 worth of select pain relievers, massagers or personal improvement products on and in select stores.

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A dedicated brand shop at serves up promotional messaging and product usage information. It also points out that Voltaren’s “easy twist cap” is approved by the Arthritis Foundation’s “Ease of Use” accreditation that “recognizes products that meet the specific needs of people who have arthritis pain.”

CVS previewed the new product as “coming soon” in multiple circulars weeks before it officially launched at the retailer. An April 12 feature kicked off the teasers with an invitation to pre-order the gel at Through May 12, GSK donated 100% of the profits from all pre-orders to the Arthritis Foundation.

CVS' cause effort was propped up by Voltaren's own launch marketing, which positions the product as the “first” OTC prescription strength nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory gel made to help alleviate joint pain brought on by arthritis in the hands, wrists, elbows, feet, ankles and knees. Voltaren also launched at Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart and several other retailers.

In related news, the Arthritis Foundation for the first time ever turned its annual flagship fundraising event, Walk to Cure Arthritis, into a virtual event this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization went live on its Facebook page on May 16 with a panel of Arthritis Foundation representatives, celebrities, influencers and volunteers.

NOTE: For more photos on this launch and cause effort, visit Path to Purchase Institute members have access to more than 3,600 images and 500 articles of marketing and merchandising activity at CVS Pharmacy as well as a full Retailer Profile outlining the chain’s operations and strategies.