MIGRAINES, MONEY MEET AT ATM IN IMITREX PUSH: GLAXO'S REMEDY PUTS PITCH ON RECEIPTS AT BANK CASH MACHINES

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A low bank balance can give some people a headache. Now, Glaxo Wellcome offers up a remedy-for the headache, that is.

The pharmaceutical giant, which spends some $36 million annually to market Imitrex prescription migraine medicine, is taking the brand's message to ATM receipts and bank statements.

The marketer is experimenting with advertising on the backs of ATM receipts, instructing consumers to call a toll-free number if they suffer from "throbbing or pulsating pain." Next month, millions of checking account statements will carry the same message.

NOT MENTIONED BY NAME

Neither the ATM receipts nor the statement inserts mention Imitrex by name-thereby avoiding the need to cite any of the drug's possible side effects. Instead, the promotions plug the phone number and Glaxo's Web site (www.

migrainehelp.com), where consumers can obtain information about Imitrex and its benefits.

The ads, being distributed by thousands of banks, are aimed at women ages 18 to 49. Glaxo figures show women in that age bracket are frequent users of ATMs, as well as the biggest sufferers of migraine attacks.

"The average ATM card user uses his or her card seven times a month," said David Cory, Glaxo's director of migraine marketing. "Our goal is to keep our message in front of them a significant number of times for them to hopefully take action."

In January, Imitrex had 6.5% of the 915,000 "triptan" migraine prescriptions in the U.S., trailing Zeneca's Zomig with 7.9%, according to analyst Mariola Haggar at Deutsche Bank Securities. Generic versions of Imitrex have far greater shares. Overall, the migraine drug market is estimated at $1.5 billion to $2 billion.

Though advertising on ATM receipts has been tried before by marketers such as Coca-Cola Co. and MCI WorldCom, Glaxo is the first to use the medium to advertise a pharmaceutical. Other drug companies may soon follow, however, with promotions for allergy, asthma, obesity and cardiovascular treatment options.

DEAL SET UP BY N.C. SHOP

Alternative Media Solutions, a Raleigh, N.C., healthcare communications company, is implementing the bank-marketing program for Glaxo. Its cost wasn't disclosed.

An Alternative Media spokesperson said negotiations are continuing with several other blue-chip drug marketers for similar promotional campaigns.

ATM ads give companies an additional way to target specific demographics, using ZIP codes and related income and population data. For example, ATMs in grocery stores, pharmacies and shopping malls are considered prime for reaching female audiences-the consumers Glaxo is targeting.

TWO-THIRDS OF U.S. BANKS

Alternative Media in January secured deals for exclusive ATM marketing rights for all over-the-counter and prescription pharmaceuticals. The agreements with banks that control two-thirds of the country's 200,000 ATMs run through 2002.

Separately, Glaxo this month awarded a more traditional direct-mail promotional campaign for Imitrex and its sister drug Amerge to Lieber Levett Koenig Farese Babcock, New York.

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