Motrin IB getting $30 mil brand push

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McNeil Consumer Products last week broke its first ad support for Motrin IB, with an estimated $30 million multimedia campaign.

McNeil picked up the ibuprofen-based pain reliever last June in a brand swap with Pharmacia & Upjohn. McNeil since 1995 has handled marketing for Children's Motrin and also markets Tylenol, the leading branded analgesic for adults.

The new Motrin IB campaign differs from traditional over-the-counter advertising by focusing heavily on dramatic imagery with little text.


The print ads from New York-based Saatchi & Saatchi's Healthcare Connection call Motrin IB "the most prescribed name in the history of pain relief." The ads carry the tagline "Motrin spoken here," with sepia-tone pictures of a rock climber, worn-out stock trader, fatigued bicyclist and others. A 30-second TV commercial is similarly crafted.

"We tried to make the pictures work especially hard for us," said Tom Lom, co-managing director at Healthcare Connection. "Much of OTC advertising tells a story through one individual's eyes; this tells a story through an aggregation. There's not one person who's talking to you, as a celebrity or testimonial."

The new campaign represents nearly a doubling of spending behind Motrin IB since it was acquired by McNeil. W.B. Doner & Co., Southfield, Mich., previously handled Motrin IB.


Children's Motrin was supported by more than $20 million in media spending last year. Ammirati Puris Lintas, New York, is the agency.

Motrin IB sales increased 5.5% to $83.1 million in the $2.49 billion analgesics category for the year ended Aug. 17, according to Information Resources Inc., making it the No. 7 brand.

"Our goal was to return Motrin to its rightful stature in the pain relief market by reminding consumers of its equity and heritage," Mr. Lom said. "Eight years later, Motrin IB hasn't progressed as it could have if its switch had been handled differently."

Copyright October 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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