Neil Wolf isn't embarrassed to talk about overactive bladder. In fact, he helped coin the term.
While leading the marketing effort for Pharmacia & Upjohn's bladder control medication, Detrol, the executive sought to destigmatize the problem, which affects an estimated 17 million Americans, and 30 to 50 million people worldwide.
"Overactive bladder is a very misunderstood condition," says Mr. Wolf, group VP-global business management. "We have a large educational objective to make sure consumers, physicians and specialists are aware of how widespread this problem truly is."
Detrol was introduced in Sweden in 1997, and made its U.S. debut in March 1998. Mr. Wolf used a phased marketing campaign to boost Detrol along. The campaign targeted urology specialists, then primary physicians, patients and, finally, the general consumer with a $28 million direct-to-consumer ad campaign.
By repositioning Detrol as a treatment for "overactive bladder" instead of as one for "incontinence," Mr. Wolf says the company doubled the patient pool. In just nine months, Pharmacia garnered $125 million in 1998 worldwide sales from the drug and $65 million during the first quarter of 1999.
The best advertising tool is the product itself, says Mr. Wolf. "If you don't have a good product, all the brilliant marketing and strategy won't do you much