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Nabisco next year doubles recent spending for its Knox NutraJoint supplement, putting roughly $8 million into direct-response TV and print ads supporting a new +Glucosamine variety.

Ads tout it as the most complete formula for joint and bone health on the market.

The expanded effort is an attempt to take advantage of growth in the overall vitamin and mineral supplement category-up 27% from 1997 to 1998 according to Nutrition Business Journal-and in the joint-health subsegment, which has grown from virtually zero to $200 million in three years, according to Everette Fortner, VP-managing director of functional foods at Nabisco.


"The joint-health segment in three years has grown similar in size to [the] calcium" business, Mr. Fortner said. "This is a high-growth area in which Nabisco can leverage its competencies."

An aging population combined with statistics showing that 90% of people over 45 complain of joint stiffness has driven joint-health supplements, and the race is on to win consumers via large scale media ad spending.

Rexall Sundown, the leader with nearly $100 million in sales, spent $8.6 million on its Sundown Osteo-bi-flex Glucosamine tablets during the first half of' 1999, vs. $2.1 million for all of 1998, per Competitive Media Reporting.

Leiner Health Products spent $7.9 million on its OsteoJoint product during the first six months, compared with none previously.


Nabisco put $4 million in print ads behind its Knox NutraJoint in 1998, using the tagline "The formula for flexibility." Earlier this year, however, the marketer tested direct-response TV in some markets, including Grand Rapids, Mich., and Tampa, Fla.

The result, said Mr. Fortner, was a sales rise of 20% vs. markets not getting the TV.

With direct response, Nabisco has been able to identify users and enroll them in its Partners in Motion program, which sends respondents health information and coupons quarterly.

"The value of one consumer is higher for Knox NutraJoint than most food products, because consumers consume these every day. With direct response, consumers trust you, get information from you and remain loyal," he said.


Beginning in January, Nabisco will launch a full year of direct-response spots on national cable TV, from Wunderman Cato Johnson, New York. Ads focus on the new formulation, which combines the traditional gelatin formula with glucosamine and seven other bone and joint nutrients, including calcium, zinc and copper.

Print in Modern Maturity, Prevention and Reader's Digest will support.

Mr. Fortner said the advertising aims to reach joint stiffness sufferers,

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