Originally owned by American Cyanamid's Lederle Laboratories, the Centrum vitamin line was bought by American Home Products Corp., where Mr. Rogers is VP-marketing, in late 1994.
And Mr. Rogers quickly got behind Centrum Silver, "poised to capitalize on the spurt of Baby Boomers turning 50," in the words of one industry analyst, who added that its "name recognition is exceptional."
Among Mr. Rogers' tactics: Co-sponsorship of the first annual Legacy awards with the American Association of Retired Persons.
To augment an ongoing network TV campaign for Silver, Mr. Rogers and his Centrum marketing team are starting up a TV campaign from Carafiello, Diehl & Associates featuring one of four persons who won the award. The ads hit network TV, some cable TV and AARP's own Modern Maturity later this year.
Carafiello is no newcomer to the celebration; it handled the 5-year-old brand under the previous owner, too.
Centrum Silver totally dominates vitamin sales among consumers 50-plus-representing about 20% of the overall $649.9 million vitamin category, according to analysts.
Thanks to AHP's focus on older consumers, Silver has become the No. 3 brand, trailing regular Centrum vitamins at No. 2. Private label products command the No. 1 slot in the vitamin category. Silver's sales were up 14.2%, to $46.5 million, for a 7.1% share of market for the 52 weeks ending March 26, according to Information Resources Inc., with flagship Centrum at $105 million.
That growth percentage topped private labels' 5.6% rate, indicating a silver lining to AHP's move.