Procter & Gamble Co.'s Aleve, the first new analgesic since ibuprofen-based products debuted 10 years ago, hit the market run-ning.
Introduced in mid-June after Food & Drug Administration approved its naproxen sodium ingredient as an over-the-counter drug, Aleve reached the No. 3 spot in the $2.6 billion pain reliever category by August, registering a 6.5% share.
Johnson & Johnson, marketer of No. 1-ranked Tylenol; American Home Products, which markets the No. 2 brand, Advil; and others all were forced to meet Aleve with massive force. New products, new packaging, increased ad spending and even lawsuits challenged Aleve's claims of a longer period of relief.
By September, Bristol-Myers Squibb's Excedrin had managed to tie Aleve's market share and, by October, had regained the No. 3 position.
Aleve's 12-hour dosing and the legacy of prescription naproxen sodium's popularity with arthritis sufferers practically guarantees the new brand an important place in the analgesic market. And the $100 million first-year marketing campaign, including $60 million in advertising from D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, will help to ensure a continuing headache for competitors.
One of the ad industry's longest relationships came to an end when Anheuser-Busch in November fired D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, St. Louis, after 79 years-most of it handling Budweiser. The firing came less than two months after the agency launched another new Budweiser campaign, its third in recent years and one that resurrected the earlier "This Bud's for you" theme.
Reason? Sources said A-B Chairman August A. Busch III was livid over D'Arcy's not talking to him before letting its TeleVest media-buying unit take on some additional Philip Morris Cos. work that included rival Miller Brewing Co.
At yearend, A-B moved the $100 million Budweiser account to DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago, uniting it with Bud Light.
Compaq Computer Corp.'s Presario home computer is the best-selling product at the world's largest PC company.
Little more than a year ago, that sentence would not have computed.
Before Presario's fall '93 introduction, Compaq wasn't even in the consumer market and trailed IBM Corp. and Apple Computer in overall PC sales.
But Compaq hit a home run with Presario just as the consumer market was taking off. Compaq priced Presario right-a PC with built-in monitor goes for less than $1,700-and promoted it heavily on TV and in magazines via Ammirati & Puris/Lintas, New York.
Healthy Choice cereal
One of the food industry's oldest names teamed up with a high-flying upstart brand to produce Healthy Choice cereal from Kellogg's. Licensing the name allowed Kellogg to do something it continually longs to do: Link cereal's low-fat, high-fiber makeup with a healthy lifestyle.
In the first three months on store shelves, supported by TV spots from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, the three cereals chalked up $18 million in sales, according to Information Resources Inc. Not bad, but the Healthy Choice megabrand sells $1 billion annually.
"The Lion King"
Walt Disney Co. hit a new high with the unprecedented success of "The Lion King," its animated film unleashed June 24. In its first weekend, the film grossed $42 million in box-office receipts, making it the third-largest film opening weekend ever, and by yearend Disney expects to make $1 billion on film and video worldwide.
Disney's well-honed skill in crafting animated musicals for children assured "Lion King's" success, but the film was helped by powerful marketing synergies supplied by tie-in partners Burger King Corp. and Mattel Toys. Licensees of dozens of other categories of "Lion King" products such as toys, books and apparel also helped drive greater awareness of the film while racking up record sales.
Also crucial in the film's success was its exceptionally broad appeal to all ages and genders.
Ice was nice for brewers as the battle over ice beers turned into a full-scale marketing blitz that helped propel the industry to a better year.
By yearend, ice beers had achieved more than a 5% share. While Miller Brewing Co.'s Lite Ice and Icehouse brands and Anheuser-Busch's Ice Draft from Budweiser lead the pack, the move to ice helped Molson Ice become the second best-selling import brew. And it's imported by Miller.
There was controversy over ice beers, most of which are stronger than regular beers.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms forced Miller to change some Molson Ice TV spots-creative seemed to linger a little too long on the section of the bottle that stated its alcohol content.
Unilever's introduction of its Power laundry detergent in Holland set off a furor, with rival Procter & Gamble Co. trying to discredit the new stain-fighting ingredient in the product. P&G unleashed a massive PR campaign, charging the product-called Omo Power in some markets and Persil Power in others-rotted clothes.
Both companies traded barbs in the press, releasing laboratory tests to support each of their sides on the cleaning-or destructive-power of the manganese ingredient used by Unilever.
By fall, however, P&G's motives for opposing the slated Europewide rollout of the new Unilever detergents seemed a bit self-serving. It was then that P&G rolled out its own stain-fighting innovation, Ariel Future.
The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers can't be stopped-yet. The fad has been raging since the fall of 1993, when Saban Entertainment's TV series debuted on the Fox Children's Network, and it shows no sign of abating.
Ever since the Power Rangers hit the scene and kids started clamoring for related toys, parents have struggled to find them and retailers can't keep supplies on the shelves. Master toy licensee Bandai America tripled production of Power Rangers toys this year, but demand continued to exceed supplies. Throughout the summer parents lurked around Toys "R" Us stores awaiting Power Ranger shipments, which sold out immediately. Informal networks cropped up as parents pooled information about the next stores expecting Power Ranger deliveries.
Meanwhile, Saban's half-hour weekday series continues to draw top ratings on Fox.
In St. Louis last May, one sold every 14 seconds. In New York, it was one every 15 seconds. Wonder what it was? It was the launch of "The One and Only Wonderbra" from Sara Lee Foundations. Seven months later, Wonderbra is on track to hit projected first-year sales of $120 million.
Like Maidenform and Playtex, Wonderbra has become part of the popular vernacular. In short order, the Wonderbra made David Letterman's "Top 10 List" and Jay Leno's opening monologue not just once but four times each. The brand name also has been written into scripts on TV sitcoms and drama series.
All this at a time when talking about breasts-and even wanting them-was supposed to be politically incorrect. As ads from TBWA, New York, said: "Who cares if it's a bad hair day?"
The Wonderbra also indicates there's still life in the $2 billion U.S. bra market, even if it is supported by a maze of invisible wires and pads.