Walgreens Elevates Private Labels Compared to National Brands

Tim Binder
Executive Editor
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Walgreens took aim at specific national brand products in its January 2019 coupon book, which hit stores Jan. 6.

“Compare and save” ads showcased Walgreens brand products, called out the national-brand competitor, and communicated that “our products contain the same active ingredients as other national brands but at a better price.”

Such ads in the January book, promoting the Walgreens brand, were for:

  • children’s congestion & cough relief liquid, comparing it to children’s Mucinex congestion & cough relief liquid from RB;
  • moisturizing skin lotion, comparing it to Cetaphil moisturizing cream from Galderma Laboratories.
  • dye-free cold & flu capsules, comparing them to Vicks DayQuil and NyQuil from Procter & Gamble.

The tactic is not new as Walgreens used it in 2018 both in its coupon book and in-store via shelf talkers. Rival CVS uses the tactic as well.

And putting private label products on center stage at the expense of national brands isn't a new concept as Walgreens has been doing it in the OTC category for years, even basing the name of its own products on the target brand/product.

The retailer also promoted various other private label products in the January coupon book without calling out competitors. Full-page ads promoted:

  • Nice! snacks
  • PetShoppe treats
  • Well Beginnings training pants
  • Walgreens skin cleansers
  • Walgreens cotton swabs and balls
  • Walgreens nicotine mini lozenges
  • Walgreens calcium gummies
  • Certainty incontinence products 
  • Walgreens blood pressure monitors

NOTE: Path to Purchase Institute members can learn more about Walgreens' marketing of its private labels at Members also have access to more than 8,000 images and 800 articles of marketing and merchandising activity at Walgreens, along with a full Retailer Profile outlining the chain’s operations and strategies.