NOVARTIS OUT EARLY WITH ADS FOR TRIAMINIC, THERAFLU LINES: NEW EXTENSIONS AIMED AT ADULTS, KIDS TO RECEIVE $29 MIL SUPPORT

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Novartis Consumer Health isn't waiting for cough and cold season to launch new line extensions for its brands.

The marketer today begins shipping to retailers Triaminic Softchews for children-billed as an easy-to-swallow version of its Triaminic liquid-and a line extension of TheraFlu for grown-ups.

The products are expected to be widely available by August, with $29 million in ad support set to break this fall via agency Jordan McGrath Case & Partners/Euro RSCG, New York.

While line extensions in the $2.5 billion cough and cold category are common, they don't always lead to healthy long-term growth.

"A new form generally gets you some additional market share because you're generally getting some extra shelf space in retail stores," said Paul Kelly, president of Silvermine Consulting Group. "But you need a breakthrough product to show dramatic category growth."

Novartis will tout Triaminic Softchews as just such an item. The fruit-flavored tablets are positioned as an easy-to-swallow, good-tasting treatment option for mothers to give 5- to 11-year-olds. The three products treat cold and cough; cold and allergy; and throat pain and cough, and are an extension of the eight Triaminic liquids.

"One thing mothers continue to ask for is a product that's easier to give their kids," said Jill Lewis, Novartis' cough and cold category manager.

'RIGHT RELIEF, NO STRUGGLE'

TV ads in West Coast test markets used the tagline, "The right relief without the struggle."

A $15 million print and TV campaign is set for November.

"Giving a kid cold medicine can be very unpleasant, it can be a struggle," said Dean Schwartz, exec VP-group director at Jordan McGrath. "We wanted to find a way to demonstrate that struggle in real life, in terms a mom can relate to."

For TheraFlu, Novartis will roll out a version to treat chest congestion and cough. The honey-lemon product will be the seventh liquid formula in the TheraFlu line.

A $14 million ad campaign, also from Jordan McGrath, is set for November.

TheraFlu had $67 million in sales for the 52 weeks ended April 25, while Triaminic posted $60 million, according to IRI. Private label leads the cough

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