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Moving from the highly competitive over-the-coun-ter drug business, Bob Carraher helped bring an important idea to marketing Ginsana dietary supplements: Treat them like an OTC brand.

"We market the brand Ginsana, not [the main ingredient] ginseng," says Mr. Carraher, director of marketing at Pharmaton Natural Health Products. "How many people know what's in Tylenol? It's about `What's the name; what does it do?'*"

Launched in 1982, sales of Ginsana rose 11% in 1996 to $40.25 million, according to Pharmaton, controlling 50% of the ginseng product market.

Mr. Carraher attributes part of the brand's success to its ability to put claims on the box supported by research-something few dietary supplements do.

Ginsana also led the way among supplements onto national TV in January 1996, using basketball star Scottie Pippen, with an estimated $16 million budget.

The advertising built acceptance at drugstores.

"I wish I could say it was my idea but Scottie called me-that's the beauty of this story," says Mr. Carraher, adding that Ginsana ads with the star are used from Israel to New Zealand.

"It's amazing how many other countries love American basketball."

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