Sanofi sends creative for Icy Hot and Aspercreme brands to Terri & Sandy
French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi is expanding its partnership with Terri & Sandy, sending lead U.S. creative duties for its Icy Hot and Aspercreme pain relief brands to the New York-based independent agency.
Terri & Sandy—tasked now with bolstering Sanofi's pain relief business in an increasingly competitive space—previously won the company's Gold Bond Skin Care brand last year and its Act oral care account in August.
The decision follows a review involving Sanofi's other roster agencies that kicked off in August. People close to the business say Addison, Texas-based full-service creative shop 31,000 FT, which declined comment, previously handled creative assignments for the Gold Bond, Icy Hot, Aspercreme and Act brands.
While Terri & Sandy becomes one of Sanofi's leading roster agencies with these wins, Sanofi Head of Integrated Marketing Chris Osner-Hackett tells Ad Age that the company works with a total of about six agencies of record across different disciplines and brands. He says 31,000 FT remains on the roster for some of its other brands.
"We're a big believer in having multiple creative AORs on the roster, not just one shop across the board," Osner-Hackett adds.
According to Ad Age Datacenter estimates, Sanofi spent approximately $889.2 million on measured media in the U.S. in 2019 across its brands including Dupixent, Allegra, Gold Bond, Icy Hot, Aspercreme, Zantac, Act, Fluzone and Nasacort. The company spent $33.4 million on Icy Hot and $26.5 million on Aspercreme last year, per the Datacenter.
Osner-Hackett says Aspercreme was the main focus of the recent review, with Sanofi seeking an agency partner to "modernize" that brand in particular with a new strategy and positioning. He says Terri & Sandy stood out as it came up with creative ideas for both Icy Hot and Aspercreme that "we really felt would break through the clutter; it’s a very cluttered space these days."
According to a "Global Pain Relief Product Market Research" report published in August, the players with the largest market share in the pain relief category are Sun Pharmaceuticals, Topical BioMedics, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Bruder Healthcare, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Reckitt Benckiser Group, Biofreeze, Sanofi, AdvaCare Pharma and Topricin.
Terri & Sandy has been tasked specifically with increasing market share for the Icy Hot and Aspercreme brands. The agency's first work is set to debut in early 2021.
“It is extremely rewarding that Sanofi is showing its confidence in Terri & Sandy by putting additional brands in our hands,” Terri & Sandy Co-Founder and CEO Terri Meyer said in a statement. “We will be entering the pain category at an exceptionally competitive time, as formidable foes with deep pockets and compelling products disrupt the marketplace. Our challenge is to reinvent and reignite Icy Hot and Aspercreme to hold on to their leadership positions and continue to thrive in this new world.”
Brand modernization effort
According to Sanofi, the company has been working over the past year to modernize brands Icy Hot, Aspercreme and Gold Bond, and also to continue to push them through the clutter in the wake of the pandemic. In September, the company said despite "numerous starts and stops" related to COVID, it pushed out three separate integrated campaigns via PR firm Salutem for each brand.
Gold Bond, riffing off of the "Champion Your Skin" campaign developed by Terri & Sandy, challenged people to put "their skin to the test to make the world a better place." Salutem got actress and LGBTQ+ advocate Laverne Cox to build on the campaign and use her platform to spotlight the Trans Wellness Center, which supports transgender and non-binary people in feeling comfortable and confident in their skin.
Icy Hot continued its longstanding partnership with brand ambassador Shaquille O'Neal, who has promoted the brand as a cure "when pain wears you down." The brand partnered with the former National Basketball Association star and The Shaquille O'Neal Foundation to launch a grant, Get Game Ready, to help high school athletics programs restart when COVID restrictions lift.
Meanwhile, on Sept. 13 (Grandparents' Day), Aspercreme dispelled misperceptions that grandparents are "frail and sedentary" by showing them as the "youthful, vibrant and active people they really are" in a social campaign.
Terri & Sandy said Sanofi now ranks among the agency's top three clients by revenue, and it will be hiring as a result—a bright spot in an industry that has faced mass layoffs due to the pandemic.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Terri & Sandy created the Gold Bond effort with Laverne Cox. The agency created the "Champion Your Skin" campaign but Sanofi's PR team facilitated the partnership with Cox.