Nicorette alone controlled a whopping 62% share of the $270.5 million category for the year through Dec. 1, according to Information Resources Inc., with NicoDerm CQ sewing up another 24.7% of the market.
Now, market share is almost equal between the two, says George Quesnelle, VP-director, medical marketing and sales for SKB's Consumer Health Care division, who oversees these products' marketing.
"It makes for a fun rivalry between the two brand groups," he says.
The first into the market, Nicorette's $58 million ads from Jordan, McGrath, Case & Taylor, New York, had to explain to smokers that part of the responsibility was up to them. The tagline: "You can do it. Nicorette can help."
The idea for the products was not to be a "magic bullet." NicoDerm CQ and Nicorette provide help through the support program Committed Quitters.
Along with media behind the patch, SKB put $110 million behind smoking cessation in 1996, a year when tobacco advertising reforms also got a lot of attention.
The products also benefited from a partnership with the American Cancer Society, which put its logo on packaging.
Mr. Quesnelle contends the brands are successful because "We really understood the mind of a smoker. We spent an awful lot of time finding out, and just sat them down in front of a videotape machine and let them talk."