Triaminic adds Vapor Patch to line

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As an alternative to the spoonful of sugar, Novartis Consumer Health this winter is offering mothers a new patch to help the medicine go down.

The marketer continues to expand its Triaminic line of children's cough/cold treatments with the launch of Triaminic Vapor Patch, which is placed on a child's chest and promises to provide eight hours of cough relief without the goo of Procter & Gamble Co.'s Vicks VapoRub.

Print ads supporting the product are set for November from Jordan McGrath Case & Partners, New York, to run in Parenting and women's service books. The ads, which target mothers of children 2 to 12, will take aim at Vicks with the tagline "The right relief without the mess."

"[Vapor Patch] doesn't have the gooey mess that you have with Vicks VapoRub," said Charlene Horvath Leitner, senior VP-group director at Jordan McGrath.

Vapor Patch also will receive a mention in tags on general Triaminic TV spots, also from Jordan McGrath, set for this winter. Novartis is still evaluating whether to shoot new commercials for the brand or reconfigure old footage.

Vapor Patch spending could not be determined, but Novartis spent some $20 million behind Triaminic last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.


Vicks VapoRub, which does not have a children-specific variety, dominates the chest rub market with a 72% share and $40.7 million in sales for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 13), according to IRI. The product may have an advantage over Vapor Patch because P&G can bill it as a treatment for nasal congestion as well as coughs, while Vapor Patch is limited to a coughs claim.

The Triaminic franchise includes a slew of liquids and the 2-year-old Softchews, touted as easy to take because they dissolve rapidly on the tongue and taste good.

For years, cough/cold marketers have sought to make liquid cough syrups more flavorful. But increasingly they are also focusing on different ways for children to take the medicine.

"The flavor is important, but we need to go above and beyond that," a Novartis spokesman said.

Novartis' Triaminic marketing is aimed at giving mothers a sense of empowerment in the battle to keep their kids healthy. The print ad for Vapor Patch features a mother with a calming hand on her child. And Novartis hopes to make the bond between mother and child a dominant theme in its Triaminic creative.

"When a child is sick, it's mom's moment to come in and be there for the child," said Sarah DeCamello, senior VP-creative director at Jordan McGrath.


Vapor Patch's "The right relief without the mess" tagline builds on tags used in ads for the liquid and Softchew lines. Liquid ads use "the right relief without the worry" to convince mothers that the various Triaminic liquids, which treat such ailments as nasal congestion, sore throat, fever and runny nose, allow them to precisely battle problems and avoid unnecessary side effects. Softchews ads use "the right relief without the struggle" because of the easy-to-swallow nature of the product.

Triaminic liquids and Softchews compete with Children's Tylenol from McNeil Consumer Healthcare, and Robitussin and Dimetapp from American Home Products, among others.

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