VICKS JOINS WITH PHARMACISTS TO BOOST AWARENESS: APHA, P&G EFFORT AIMS TO HELP EDUCATE CONSUMERS

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The American Pharmaceutical Association has teamed with Procter & Gamble Co.'s Vicks brand to test-market an unusual TV effort to build consumer awareness of pharmacists.

The campaign is running in Pittsfield, Mass., and Eau Claire, Wis.-both BehaviorScan markets for Information Resources Inc.-for the next two cough/cold seasons. P&G agency D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, is working as APhA's first shop for the effort, which could go national.

STAYING HEALTHY

The TV spot that started airing late in 1997 asks consumers, "Where do you go to feel healthy?" It shows images of a gym and outdoor exercise, then asks, "Where do you go to stay healthy?" and shows a pharmacy.

The Vicks name appears as a supporter, with various tags for P&G's Chloraseptic, Dayquil and Nyquil products.

"We thought it was a good fit, since they're the leading voice of pharmacists," said a P&G spokes-man of APhA, a 50,000-member professional organization.

James Appleby, group director-professional resources at APhA, said the group didn't have the "resources for a campaign of this magnitude," adding that the P&G sponsorship gave it the ability to take the message to TV. Vicks has been a previous sponsor of educational sessions for the organization.

The partnership is not exclusive with the Vicks brand after the test period.

BEING MORE ACCESSIBLE

The effort is part of a larger program launched two years ago to get pharmacists to "re-engineer their practices" to be more accessible and friendly to consumers.

"Our vision is that pharmacists will have the time to make sure patients are appropriately educated, they don't encounter any side effects and they get better and stay well," Mr. Appleby said.

The P&G program is the second brand partnership under way from APhA.

"The Pharmacist's Minute" radio ads have been running for two years, with information on conditions such as osteoporosis and colds; separate ads for Johnson & Johnson/Merck's Pepcid AC brand are tagged on.

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