For as long as modern pharmacies have been around, they've deviated little from their roles of filling prescriptions and selling medicine. But now, Rite Aid wants to challenge that singular notion, today announcing a major rebrand that will see the drugstore chain welcome holistic, alternative therapies as a complement to traditional remedies as it seeks to become the first business of its type in the U.S. to offer a “whole-health pharmacy experience.”
“We are introducing a whole new Rite Aid and that’s evidenced by the change in the brand identity, but it goes so much deeper than that,” says Erik Keptner, Rite Aid’s chief merchandising and marketing officer, adding that American consumers are increasingly aware of the roles mental wellness and self-care play in their overall health.
To play to that strength, the Pennsylvania-based pharmacy chain had to consider the customer’s “mind, body and spirit,” Keptner says, which is why Rite Aid will now dually focus on pills and prescriptions as well as alternative wellness options, ranging from encouraging dietary health to using lavender as a sleep aid.
In addition to spotlighting non-traditional remedies, Rite Aid’s ongoing brand revision calls for phasing out the sale of tobacco, emphasizing its beauty department, bringing in healthier snack options, and continuing to explore CBD offerings in states where it’s permitted. Keptner anticipates the rollout, which also encompasses long-term store renovations as well as a merchandise overhaul, will be a “multi-year journey” to reach all of Rite Aid’s roughly 2,400 locations.
As part of the shift, Rite Aid is ditching its iconic red-and-blue shield logo—in use nationwide since 1979—in favor of a softer image that incorporates a mortar and pestle and three stylized leaves, encapsulating the brand’s focus on alternative wellness strategies.
The old shield symbolized protection, though its intended meaning didn’t always come across to the public, Keptner says, with some consumers previously suggesting that it looks like a road sign. But Rite Aid’s rebrand goes beyond just updating its logo, he adds.
To debut the larger transformation, the pharmacy chain called on Havas, its agency-of-record, to produce a TV commercial that communicates what the “new Rite Aid” is all about: a fusion of holistic and traditional medicines.