THE MARKETING 100; NEIL HELLER;TUMS

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Neil Heller, associate director of gastrointestinal marketing at SmithKline Beecham, made Tums antacid more than just a stomach remedy.

"We knew we had a unique point of difference in calcium, which we had been exploiting in advertising. But we knew we could push even more than we had," says Mr. Heller, 35.

Beginning in 1990, Mr. Heller coordinated the team that expanded the calcium usage of Tums and introduced new products that gave the brand shelf space in the vitamin and nutritional supplement section of stores.

Smithkline Beecham already knew doctors were recommending Tums as a source of calcium to their patients, particularly pregnant women and those at risk of osteoporosis. But "one of the things we've done since 1990 is establish a more comprehensive commitment to professional marketing," says Mr. Heller. "Having the intervention of physicians gets the point across in a more compelling way to women than we could in general advertising."

To get the doctor-recommended calcium supplementation, up to eight Tums a day were required. That's a situation Mr. Heller remedied with the introduction of Tums 500 calcium supplement-with a recommended dosage of two to three tablets daily.

The marketer also introduced Tums Ultra, a 1,000mg antacid with twice Tums' acid-neutralizing power.

At the same time, consumer agency Jordan McGrath Case & Taylor "was able to creatively marry calcium and heartburn in the sense that Tums helps relieve heartburn and gives you calcium, something your body needs anyway," Mr. Heller says.

Consumers instantly grasped the additional benefit, building share and further solidifying its No. 2 position in the $1.1 billion stomach remedy category behind Johnson & Johnson's Mylanta. According to Information Resources Inc., Tums had a 14.5% market share, up 0.4%, for the 52 weeks ended Feb. 26, 1995, two percentage points behind the leader.

What's made Tums click? "Calcium is the quick answer," says Mr. Heller. "The second answer is that the brand team, the ad agency and the professional team all shared a common vision, and goal."

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