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health matters

CVS Bets On Anti-Smoking Positioning with Corporate Commitment to Health

Posted by Dale Buss on September 3, 2014 01:42 PM

CVS Caremark is making a huge bet with its brand on opposing smoking, as the company today announced that it is going way beyond its February announcement that it would stop selling tobacco in its 7,700 retail locations beginning October 1.

America's second-largest drugstore chain revealed that it is changing its corporate name to CVS Health to reflect its new wellness positioning (while its consumer-facing CVS/pharmacy stores are dropping the hyphen); that it is launching a huge smoking-cessation effort to help customers kick the habit too; and that it has stopped selling tobacco products as of today, nearly a month ahead of its earlier-indicated date.

CVS Health is backing up this huge wager with a passel of new ads and social media activations about the benefits of a smoke-free life under the theme "One Good Reason"—as in, your loved ones comprise "one good reason" to quit smoking, and "What is your #onegoodreason to kick tobacco too"?Continue reading...

brand strategy

Bayer to Buyers: Take Two Aspirin, We're Keeping Our Consumer Brands

Posted by Dale Buss on July 3, 2014 02:50 PM

Maybe it's the onset of summer, but Bayer has decided there’s still value in two tried-and-true consumer brands for Americans: Dr. Scholl's and Coppertone.

Lots of other companies were interested in bagging the summertime stalwarts, but the German drug and chemical giant has decided to keep the foot-care and sun-care icons, widening its own line to include consumer goods. Bayer acquired them as part of a $14.2 billion transaction with US pharmaceutical giant Merck.

When it clinched the deal several weeks ago, Bayer mainly targeted Merck’s non-prescription-drugs business, to which Dr. Scholl’s and Coppertone—known for its iconic Coppertone Girl— were attached. That set off speculation that Bayer—best known in the US for its aspirin and some chemicals—would sell off the two iconic consumer brands.

Each of the brands is worth more than $1 billion—the billion-dollar valuation being the benchmark that also convinced Nestle USA to hold onto Lean Cuisine while unloading Juicy Juice this week. Bayer secured the bundle of properties from Merck after a competitive bidding tussle with P&G, fellow European CPG giant Renckitt Benckiser and Swiss pharma titan Novartis.Continue reading...

china

Nu Skin China Scandal's Repercussions for Other Direct Sales Brands

Posted by Abe Sauer on January 17, 2014 12:44 PM

"The direct-selling market, which helps create jobs and diversify retailing channels, is forecast to achieve double-digit growth in China in the coming years."

That was the takeaway from an April 18, 2013, giddy and optimistic report from mainland state newspaper China Daily, titled "Nu Skin sees $1b in sales for anti-aging products." And yet, less than a year later, another state media newspaper report has sent Nu Skin stock plunging, casting the company's heretofore rosy China future in deep, deep doubt. Investors are jittery as its stock halted trading in the wake of China's investigation into its selling practices.

What's more, just as the pharmaceutical scandal that proceeded it, Nu Skin's China meltdown should serve as a warning to other direct-selling brands operating in China.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Following Exposé, Tylenol Works Quickly to Restore Brand

Posted by Abe Sauer on October 10, 2013 12:55 PM

It's been three weeks since investigative journalists at ProPublica published a long profile of the severe potential danger in overusing the pain reliever acetaminophen. The report's most damaging allegations were not that 150 people a year die from acetaminophen but that safety agencies and manufacturers—especially household acetaminophen brand Tylenol—knew how dangerous the drug was and did little to warm users.

ProPublica's several stories, which make claims like, "[Tylenol maker] McNeil opposed even a modest government campaign to educate the public about acetaminophen’s risks, in part because it would harm Tylenol sales," are pretty damning for the brand, but the government agencies that oversee such operations don't make it out unscathed either. "Over more than 30 years, the FDA has delayed or failed to adopt measures designed to reduce deaths and injuries from acetaminophen. The agency began a comprehensive review to set safety rules for acetaminophen in the 1970s, but still has not finished," another report says.Continue reading...

campaign tactics

Johnson & Johnson Hopes 'Love' Campaign Will Restore Trust in Troubled Brand

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 7, 2013 11:40 AM

It hasn’t been a great couple of years for Johnson & Johnson. Since 2009, “faulty manufacturing” caused J&J to “recall millions of bottles and packages of Tylenol, Benadryl, Motrin and other over-the-counter medicines,” NBC News reports. While that was happening, pharmacies were starting to push their own private labels.

It got so bad that this past winter, CVS didn’t even stock Tylenol at a number of its stores. That isn't all. The company is facing over 10,000 lawsuits regarding the alleged failure of its Depuy metal-on-metal hip transplants, and it just got done paying $181 million in settlements over off-label marketing of its antipsychotic drug, Risperdal, Ad Age notes.

As Mad Men’s Don Draper says, if you don’t like what people are saying, you change the conversation. So J&J is going all-in on a rebrand, putting up to $30 million into a play-to-the-heartstrings Band-Aid of a campaign called “For All You Love.”Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Mike Bloomberg, Starbucks, Pepsi/Mondelez and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on March 24, 2013 01:02 PM

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg unveils $12 million ad campaign (above) for Mayors Against Illegal Guns that lobbies for background checks to reduce gun violence, while NYC's municipal data geek squad makes headlines.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz defends same-sex marriage support to shareholders as brand expands loyalty rewards to other retailers.

PepsiCo shares jump on Mondelez merger speculation sparked by Telegraph story which Pepsi "downplays."

Apple acquires indoor GPS startup WiFiSLAM for mapping, patents iPhone drop protection technology and faces EU scrutiny following iPhone and iPad distribution complaints — and may report first quarterly dip since 2003.

FTC "pay for delay" generic drug case, set to go before US Supreme Court on Monday, will be closely watched by pharmaceutical industry and economists.

Below: BlackBerry, Blockbuster, Dell, Diageo and other brands in the news —Continue reading...

brandcameo

Pharma Brands Don't Always Seek Fame, But a Little Blue Pill Keeps Popping Up

Posted by Abe Sauer on January 31, 2013 02:22 PM

"That's the one thing you don't do. You don't tell her you took Viagra. I'm pretty sure that's on the warning label."

So went the viagra joke in 2012's feel-good comedy about middle age, This is 40. But jokes about recreational use of the blue ED pill were not the only pharma brand mention in film recently. A new position paper from the mental health watchdog group Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) asks: "Has the motion picture industry become the newest outlet for pharmaceutical product advertising?"

To make its case, the CCHR points to the critically acclaimed, Oscar-nominated film about mental illness, Silver Linings Playbook.Continue reading...

in it to win it

Why Novartis is Committing $20M to Cancer Research Trial? Hope, and Emily

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 17, 2012 02:02 PM

Young Emily Whitehead, who turned 7 in May, was saved from near death from leukemia after relapsing twice after chemotherapy – and with all viable options running out. In desperation, her parents sought experimental treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, using a disabled form of the virus that causes AIDS to reprogram her immune system genetically to kill cancer cells. 

“She is the first child and one of the first humans ever in whom new techniques have achieved a long-sought goal — giving a patient’s own immune system the lasting ability to fight cancer,” reports The New York Times.

The treatment, developed at the University of Pennsylvania, the Times noted in a separate story, “may signify a turning point in the long struggle to develop effective gene therapies against cancer. And not just for leukemia patients: other cancers may also be vulnerable to this novel approach — which employs a disabled form of H.I.V.-1, the virus that causes AIDS, to carry cancer-fighting genes into the patients’ T-cells. In essence, the team is using gene therapy to accomplish something that researchers have hoped to do for decades: train a person’s own immune system to kill cancer cells.”

“Our goal is to have a cure, but we can’t say that word,” said Dr. Carl June, lead of the U Penn research team, echoed by his colleague, Dr. John Wagner, director of pediatric blood and marrow transplantation at the University of Minnesota, who said the Pennsylvania results were “phenomenal” and  “what we’ve all been working and hoping for but not seeing to this extent. I think this is a major breakthrough.”

Cue Novartis, which has committed $20 million to building a research center on the university’s campus to ready the treatment for public consumption. In August 2012, Novartis acquired exclusive rights from Penn to CART–19, the therapy now known as CTL019. Unlike trials for commercial development of drugs like Viagra or cholesterol meds where millions consume the same drugs, Emma’s treatment requires a new batch of T-cells for each patient.Continue reading...

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