NOVARTIS READIES ADDITIONS FOR KIDS COUGH, COLD LINES: EXTENSIONS FOR TRIAMINIC AND THERAFLU BATTLE HERBAL REMEDIES

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Gearing up for the fall cough/cold season and battling the popularity of herbals and prescription drugs, Novartis is extending its children's Triaminic and TheraFlu lines with new products and increased media budgets.

An estimated $16 million in ad spending will support the Triaminic brand, including dedicated TV and print efforts behind its new Severe Cold & Fever extension and Softchews, a new product being tested in the western U.S.

TAGLINE VARIATION

Ads from Jordan McGrath Case & Partners, New York, will likely include a tagline based on the current Triaminic tag, "The right relief without the worry." Ads are expected to break in the fall and run through March.

Triaminic received $12.5 million in media last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting. Henna Inam, marketing director of cough/cold products for Novartis, said the marketer this year plans to "maximize spending by heavily supporting the brand and its extensions."

"One of the biggest things parents struggle with is dosing their children," said Ms. Inam, explaining the logic behind Softchews, which contain premeasured dosages. "It's emotional for parents that they have to fight with their kids while they're sick."

The cough/cold season starts earlier for kids, who are exposed to more bugs at the start of a new school year.

FIRST FULL-SYMPTOM PRODUCT

Severe Cold & Fever is Triaminic's first four-ingredient product; the brand's philosophy has been to limit ingredients in individual products to those fighting one or two specific symptoms in order to avoid overmedicating children.

That philosophy left "a gap in our lineup when a child has all the symptoms," said Ms. Inam.

Novartis' TheraFlu brand, meanwhile, just got permission from the Food & Drug Administration to add a new Sore Throat & Cough extension and cherry flavor, which will be rolled into the current "Instant comfort, powerful relief" campaign, also from Jordan McGrath. Those ads are also expected to break in the fall. "We're really planning to focus the brand on its hot-liquid heritage," said Ms. Inam.

That brand will also get a media boost, to an estimated $14 million from last year's $11 million. Such spending increases are important to Ms. Inam, who feels the impact of increasingly popular herbal remedies and the powerful presence of direct-to-consumer advertising behind prescription drugs.

CATEGORY DOWN OVERALL

The overall cough/cold/allergy/sinus category is down 1.9% to $2.4 billion, according to Information Resources Inc.

Triaminic dropped 2.1% to $55.4 million for the year ended May 24, and TheraFlu fell 1.7% to $59.1 million. McNeil Consumer Products Co.'s Tylenol led the category, growing 1.2% to $252.9 million.

"Herbal products have grown very significantly, with the overall change in consumer attitudes to medicating," said Ms. Inam. "It's still relatively small but we'll see continued growth as everyone continues to look for the cure to the common cold."

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