Reggie Category: Shopper Marketing or Retailer-Specific Marketing (Bronze)
Voltaren, a topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) gel from GSK Consumer Healthcare, faced several headwinds as it transitioned from prescription to over-the-counter status last year. Most shoppers didn’t know about it and retailers dismissed osteoarthritis pain relief as a niche segment in the overall
$4.7 billion OTC pain category, despite the fact that the condition afflicts more than 32.5 million U.S. adults. Innovation in the osteoarthritis pain relief category was stagnant, with no prescription medications making the switch to OTC in the past 20 years.
Working with Arc Worldwide, GSK developed a strategy around the idea of reconnecting osteoarthritis sufferers to the joy of movement and reducing their dependence on pills. Pre-launch consideration included digital ads with “coming soon” and “pre-order” messaging. In stores, endcaps and aisle signage with bright orange Voltaren packaging broke through the cluttered category. Partnerships were leveraged with Pandora, Paula Abdul (who starred in commercials) and the Arthritis Foundation. Voltaren customized its communications across key geographies based on a national “Arthritis Pain” index map, with media that ran across TV, e-commerce, search, online video and audio, programmatic, YouTube and paid social.
Launches were customized at each key retailer. Target promoted the movement theme with secondary placement in the sporting goods aisle. Walmart offered shoppers exclusive content from Paula Abdul. CVS created a deeper partnership with the Arthritis Foundation, and Walgreens focused on outreach at its pharmacy. And at Kroger, a health and wellness message linked Voltaren to food with osteoarthritis-friendly recipes.
Voltaren achieved its primary goal in becoming the No. 1 doctor-recommended OTC topical brand in just four months. It was the leading SKU in the external analgesic category and achieved a 10.8% share versus a goal of 6%. In addition, Voltaren contributed 70% of the external analgesic category growth for the key retailers, surpassing its $100 million consumption goal by 41.4%. It reached 3.3% household penetration, over one point higher than its closest competition, Tylenol Arthritis, at the same point in its launch.